Although I have lived a life so far of relative comfort, I haven’t lead a life of so called “success” in the most traditional sense of the word. I’ve had my share of steps forward only to be met by steps backward. Narrow victories followed by immediate and devastating losses. Improvements made while then faced with a tough road forward. And on occasion no way forward but to start anew. But no matter what the challenge, I’ve taken it head on, head up with a clear mind and emboldened resolve not to be beaten by the machinations pending or imposing. My shield: My determination. My weapon: My intellect. My way forward: My talent. Questioning; listening. Reflection; acceptance. Then, stepping forward with greater understanding drawn from greater introspection. It’s those early losses I reflect on most often. Those were the crucible in which I forged that same determination, that same intellect and fortified that same talent. Those lessons I carry with me each and every day, constantly refining them, learning from them and building on them. The most important facet to those early losses, was how I carried myself after those losses. This is the measure of any man or any woman. The ultimate test in poise and grace with the goal to rise above. How we collectively move forward and how we look to right wrongs. How we look to support each other and most important observe, listen and respect each others differences and opinions even when faced with adversity. Most of all, to hope and begin to dream of that future which is inclusive for all and not just a few but to finally see it done through active participation. The way forward will never be easy. The way forward will never be a clear path. I came to realize early on that to set the example, you lead by that example. Stand up. Step forward. Be heard. Don’t be intimidated. Never be bullied. Never give up. Help those who are in need of help. Guide those who require guidance. Observe. Listen. Accept. Respond. Act. And so, I say to everyone out there just one thing: Set the example. Lead by example.