In the face of the unfurling war in Ukraine and continuing domestic economic challenges, sleepless nights and growing cynicism can be corrosive. The BBC and The Atlantic both wrote pieces last fall about “tragic optimism”: how to stay out of the ditch when anxiety continues to swirl around us. At an even deeper level, Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote about this as well. We can choose to incorporate gratefulness into our daily thinking. If Frankl is correct, we can have optimism in the face of tragedy – to find connection and purpose.
With that frame of mind, today is a feel-good day. Anybody else forget to set their clocks ahead on Saturday night? I started out aggravated but that ended quickly because Sunday proved to be beautiful and the week ahead promises to be even more so.
Last Wednesday was a great day, too – for several reasons. Our Lunch With Leaders event featured 3 “regular-but-powerful” women who are leading: Kenya McKnight-Ahad, Founder/President of Black Women’s Wealth Alliance; Major General Johanna Clyborne, Minnesota’s Assistant Adjutant General (and Minnesota’s first female 2-star general); and Lara Juras, VP and Director of Culture and People with the Minnesota Vikings. Metro State’s Great Hall was packed and attendees captivated by their comments. We all could have sat there much longer, hearing the stories of regular women doing extraordinary things. Just one of the comments I received after the event: “I want you to know that today was one of the best panels events I have attended in a very long time. The panelists were authentic, the questions superb and the dialog, invaluable. Thank you for your efforts!”
Also on Wednesday, we honored two organizations with our Celebrate Business Success and Celebrate Service awards:
The Buttered Tin, winner of Celebrate Business Success award: we’ve been recognizing companies with this award since 2006, and we were especially delighted to recognize The Buttered Tin – a dynamite woman-owned business celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. They recently expanded from their St. Paul location across the river to add a Minneapolis location, and you can order their cakes for delivery now! The bakery’s founder is James Beard-recognized chef and Cupcake Wars winner Alicia Hinze. Alicia is also very community minded – during Covid-19, she and her staff set up a way for people to donate and send breakfast to frontline workers.
Metro State University, winner of Celebrate Service award: new this year, this award recognized Metro State University. And it’s also led by a woman – President Virginia Arthur. For over 50 years, Metro State has been a community partner, whose impact has been uniquely extraordinary in terms of social mobility for its students. Metro State is an urban university, uniquely designed to meet the needs of adult learners in the region.Most fascinating to me as a measure of their impact is the Social Mobility index, which measures where students enter a school in terms of their economic standing and then, 5 years after graduation. Metro State ranks 39th nationally and #1 in Minnesota. Further, 85% of alums live and work and pay taxes in Minnesota. That translates to over $4B in taxes across its 50K alums.
Other news to share:
See you in the trenches.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.