#01: A source of inspiration

By Gino Blefari

*This post is part of a new weekly series on leadership, written by Gino Blefari, SVP of HSF Affiliates LLC. Blefari will become CEO of HSF Affiliates Jan. 1, 2015.

“Who are you?” Celia, an employee at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, asked me this morning as I made my way through the lobby.

“I’m here attending Summit Conference,” I told her.

“But what do you do?” she inquired, unsatisfied with my response.

“I’m the incoming CEO.”

“Ah!” she exclaimed. “I knew it!” Celia smiled at me and I smiled back, adding a few friendly nods before I continued toward my room. On my way back across the lobby, Celia was still there and stopped me again.

“How old do you think I am?” she asked.

“Seventy five?”

She shook her head, delighted to reveal her age. “I’m 91!” Celia said, beaming.

I was thoroughly shocked. “Wow! How do you do it?” I wanted to know more.

“I always have a positive attitude,” she explained and the answer struck me as both powerful and profound. “And,” she added, “I could tell you have one, too.”

I walked back to Summit Conference feeling renewed and inspired by a woman with almost a century’s worth of wisdom, who some people passed by without even a wave.

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