So here I am, up in the clouds on Frontier airlines. We are en route to Washington, and scheduled to arrive at the same time as the snowstorm…
Denver was a great learning opportunity. Once we straightened out our travel arrangements, everything went smoothly. We were wonderfully greeted by the consul general and his staff. We had fascinating meetings with a former governor, a former senator, academics, pundits, the Federal Reserve, the EPA and the folks at the institute for renewable energy. What impressed me was the calibre of the people we met. They were thoughtful, informed, entertaining. We heard so much passion…about their country and its potential. And although we are in a state that produces coal and holds vast potential for shale oil, they are zooming ahead on renewable energy, green buildings and other measures to deal with climate change. The people we met with were so generous with their time and their insight. And they wanted to understand our perspective, to know what we think.
On our first night in Denver, we watched a documentary on Mayor (now Governor) Hickenlooper and the 10 days in which they hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2008. He just radiated positive energy, and what really struck me was how he was consistently open to others. He never took offence and was always willing to engage with people, even those who disagreed with or opposed him. He did not appear to have an ounce of cynicism in him. Remarkable.
And last night we watched the State of the Union address. We watched the artful unveiling of what will undoubtedly be the next presidential campaign…with its focus on the future, on innovation, on education, but also on fiscal discipline. And of course, the throwing down of the gauntlet for a more civil discourse and a spirit of cooperation.
So, what am I learning? Well, a lot about suspending judgement. Also about listening actively, and asking questions to deepen my understanding.
I am blessed with wonderful colleagues, who ask great questions, and who are entertaining travel companions.
And about accessibility...I hit the jackpot at the Brown palace hotel and spa! It seems as though the only accessible room they had was a palatial suite. I knew something was up when we entered my marble foyer and I saw the dining room table at the end. Yikes! It also had a spectacular shower…and once the nice man from engineering came up to help us out, I also had a toilet that I could use. And once we changed from the party bus, we had superb transportation. All good.
I wish we'd had a bit more time. I know we just scratched the surface. We saw a lot of homeless people and I want to know more about who they are. But overall, I am really pleased with our Denver experience....what's not to love about a city where you can get terrific Mexican food (can you say "mole"?), amazing steaks, champagne by the glass, and drive around in an accessible, and free, downtown shuttle bus?