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When My Work Inspires Me More Than I Inspire Them

Delivering breakout or mini-training sessions for local, state-wide, and national conferences is something I do often.

What doesn’t often happen is the conference attendees inspire me to tears.

The Page Education Foundation is a local foundation founded in 1988 by Alan Page and his wife Diane Sims Page when Page was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.


In my house we grew up watching the Minnesota Vikings play on Sundays and Alan Page was a hero of mine even as a young girl.

He’s gone on to get his law degree and eventually made it to the Minnesota Supreme Court. He’s someone who make things happen.

Page Grants are awarded to Minnesota students of color who attend Minnesota post-secondary schools and agree to complete annual service projects with young children.

Last weekend more than 150 students gathered early on a beautiful Saturday morning here in Minneapolis IN THE SUMMER. We only have 10-15 minutes of summer in Minnesota, so it’s a big deal to be inside on a gorgeous day.

My session: Finding, Crafting & Sharing Powerful Stories was delivered to more than 50 grant recipient scholars. My job: Teach them ways to introduce themselves to stand out from the crowd when they are seeking internships and jobs. And make it fun and easy to share their own personal stories with someone new.

What I encountered were kind, smart, fun, and eager to learn young adults who inspired me beyond words.

One of the young men told me his special gift is “To hear other peoples’ heart messages.”



Yes, I shared tools and took them through exercises to support their communication skills.

But it was during the Q & A time that brought a lump to my throat and made me realize these kids are incredibly special and hungry to create a good life:

The questions they asked were things like:

“How do you deal with self-doubt?”

“In my culture it’s not okay to touch a man. What should I do in an interview?”

“Who would want to hear MY story?


Their candid and heartfelt questions changed my simple training session to a “teach the teacher” event.

We had frank discussions and talked about ways to deal with each of their concerns. The young adults I met on Saturday will stay with me for a very long time.

As Justice Page said in his welcome speech on Saturday: “Don’t let the search for perfection become the enemy of the possible.”

I’m certain these students have a good head start on that.

Thank you to Justice Page and Diane Sims Page for creating such an important resource for young Minnesota students of color.



One Comment

  • MaryAnn Jacobwith says:

    A very inspiring event to read about. I am deeply proud of my daughter, Lori, for her inspiration to others. And to the young people that she had inspire her. My heart is full of pride and I wish them all well in their next journey.

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