Before heading to the Grand Hall for my speaking engagement at Rice University, I had to make one stop! I simply could not visit the majestic Rice campus and not stand underneath James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace. James Turell medium of art is light, and he has always said, “light itself is a form of revelation and a source of contemplation”. Of course as I watched the light show in the skyspace pavilion, I was filled with a sense of expansiveness that was indescribable.
As lifelong learners, we also hope to experience those “light filled” moments where we gain new insight on life and people. One of the ways in which we all can play a part in transformation is by sharing what inspires us. Given my natural curiosity and my training in psychology I have always been fascinated by visionaries, who have been at the forefront of change, who have led the way to a broader way of perceiving the world.
This fascination led me to write “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World”. In the book, I offer a personal and psychological narrative of the most trailblazing women around the world. My quest to connect and have meaningful conversations about this topic has led to a yearlong book tour, which is why I was invited to come and speak at Rice University.
It is one thing to go to an institution and talk about what I am passionate about, but it is another thing to see that an institution can so thoughtfully integrate a talk and link it to their students’ passion. For my speaking engagement, The Center For the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality brought together 20 non-profit organizations (AssistHers, YWCA, Girls Inc., The Women’s Home to name a few) to its Grand Hall so that students could sign up to volunteer for these organizations following my talk.
If there are two messages that I can impart about my book, it would be that effective leaders 1) build a life around their strengths and 2) visionaries commit themselves to a purpose that is larger than themselves. The idea of service is pivotal in one’s growth and transformation, and how appropriate it was for an educational institution to facilitate growth in such a thoughtful and meaningful way.
Perhaps the Turell piece that I so wanted to visit is just another symbol for what the campus does already.