Thursday, September 18, 2014

Keynote at the World Bank

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

I gave a keynote today in Washington, D.C. at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank entity that makes investments in private companies in developing countries in every region of the world.  I spoke to several hundred investment professionals about the value of “being adventurous.”  Here’s a pic of the crowd:

I love IFC’s mission, because they are not simply trying to make money through investments.  They are trying to make a material difference in the lives of people in developing countries around the world.  The cool people who work at the IFC are genuinely trying to make the world a better place.  Just the kind of folks I like to hang out with, and they could not have given me a more enthusiastic reception:

I told them stories about people who inspire me, like Charlie Plaskon, a blind athlete I guided in the NYC Ironman when he was 69 years old.  And Dan Berlin, my friend who decided to become a marathoner after he went blind in his 30s.  He has every excuse to feel sorry for himself, but instead, he decided to do something that intimidates the healthiest of athletes.  And he hasn’t stopped at marathons.  With help from my friends Brad Graff and Alison Berna, I will guide Dan in a 46-mile, single-day, round-trip “rim to rim to rim” run across the Grand Canyon on Oct 7.  If we’re successful, Dan will become the first blind person to accomplish this feat.  Coolness.

In the IFC talk, I also shared lessons I learned from cycling over 7,000 miles with my young children across Japan, Iceland, Europe and the U.S., saying, “A kid can do a whole lot more than most adults think!”  I ended by encouraging the audience to challenge their limits and ignore the naysayers who might discourage them from taking risks and seeking vitality.

After my keynote, I hung out for a while chatting with a number of IFC employees who shared their own personal and professional ambitions.  I even received invitations to bring my kids on cycling trips in Africa and Southeast Asia.  Hmm, I may have just found my next two stimulating family adventure destinations…

Big thanks to Fabiana Feld, Macarena De Martini and Elizabeth Price for hosting me at this IFC event.  Here’s a selfie with Fabiana being silly with me on stage:

And a special shout out to Irina Likhachova for recommending me as a speaker.  You’re awesome, you know that?

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