This week I’ve been inspired and challenged by others!

1. A Darden alum, who took time out of her busy schedule to not only talk with me in a networking context, but also really helped me re-frame thinking about this whole experience. To a one, every Darden alum I’ve talked to has been pleasant and accessible. Pretty amazing. It’s easy to get caught up in the intensity of the environment here, and her words of wisdom really helped. Her main questions were both challenging and inspiring. She asked me “What’s holding you back? Does it need to? How could you be spending that energy?” Powerful questions, all.

2. Mark Addicks, CMO of General Mills, who came to speak at Darden as part of the Leadership Speaker Series. This brave and brilliant man stood up in front of an auditorium audience and told us he tossed his original presentation out, and instead made a new one the previous evening. He then proceeded to give us his tenets, which were extraordinary:

  • Start with the end in mind.
  • Be different.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Be provocative.
  • Be there.

I must admit, this type of vision and attitude were not what I expected from someone named a “Top 25 Power Broker” and a senior executive at a large company, and I was utterly captivated. Read more on his impactfulness at Everette Fortner’s blog.

3. Miss MBA, a friend who sat patiently with me today for hours going over accounting. She’s been a bit under the weather this week (it seems half of the class of 2011 has sniffles, flu, a cold, bronchitis, sinusitis or the like). Today we took a couple hours to review cash flow and she gracefully and patiently waited and helped as I floundered about in T-accounts and accrued vs. deferred. I’m discovering that I learn the best when I can talk it out with someone, but actually finding those people is rare.

In other news… it’s the last week of class before exams (eek!) next week… yours truly got nominated and won for the Section B bird award, for a particularly inane comment involving pirates & cummerbunds…and i’ve also been selected as a Lady Co-Judge for the Mustache-Growing Competition!