Contrary to popular belief, I do not have my act together. Not even a little bit. In search of all of the help I could get, I found the most amazing professional organization: VisionFW. At Vision, our mission is: to help young professionals to make contacts, create opportunities, and foster the growth of our city and its future. In everything we do, we are focused on making Fort Worth a better place to live, work, and play.
I jumped into Vision with both feet, attended every coffee, happy hour, volunteer opportunity that was available. This was the level of involvement and interaction I had craved in my professional career, and Vision was the answer to everything I had been searching for. I have some of the most amazing friends that I would not know if it wasn’t for Vision.
In September of 2014 I received an email inviting me to apply to a One-on-One Mentoring program. Benefits included: exposure to senior leaders, building greater connections within Vision and the community, gain a better understanding of business and career growth, enhance existing leadership skills, improve team building skills, and communication skills with senior level executives and peers. Sounds wonderful, right? This program was what I needed, but didn’t know it yet.
I was accepted into the program in November of 2014 and met my mentor, Marilyn Gilbert. Y’all my life changed for the better than day. We scheduled our first date at Dave’s Stove Shop, because we quickly figured out that we were both food loving, Parker County residents. We met, we shopped, we ate a delicious lunch and made plans to see each other again after the beginning of the year. I left that day knowing I was going to be a better person, employee, and professional for having this amazing woman as my mentor.
Our second date was set for January 21, 2015 immediately following a mentoring event we were both attending. Now I know you’re thinking, that’s awfully specific; how do you remember the exact date of your second meeting when we all know you can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Well, if you recall January 20, 2015 was a pretty big day in my little world: the day I was diagnosed with ALS. Our relationship immediately went from a professional mentorship to a personal one, very very quickly.
Since that day in January when I dropped the ALS bomb on Marilyn, we have been through so much. She is exactly the mother, wife, professional, world traveler, human being that I hope to be when I grow up. We’re so much a like: we are highly motivated by food, the occasional fbomb slips out of our mouths in regular conversation, and we both have a passion for traveling the world. As far as match-ups go, this one is perfect!
Marilyn has supported me personally through terminal diagnosis, finding and marrying the man of my dreams, buying a house, and so much more. I could not ask for a better mentor and friend. Professionally, she has invited me to some of the coolest events, including getting to see Ann Compton speak at the 2015 Annual Meeting. She is my sounding board, talks me off a ledge regularly, and helps me to see the bigger picture. Marilyn’s diverse professional background and her countless accomplishments with the Chamber make me a better employee through her insight, advice, and regular interaction together.
Today is Marilyn’s birthday. Please help me shower her with love on her day. This woman is my rock, and she deserves nothing but the best today and everyday.