Photo by Autumn Mott on Unsplash

The Life and Times of Birungi Ives

Installment #2

Two years later, standing in front of me were the Who’s Who of the political and philanthropic world…

He extended his arm to shake my hand and said,“My name is Van, Van Jones.” All I could think of in that moment was, How did I get here?

It all started with an unexpected email on my Blackberry Pearl. (If this doesn’t clue you in to the times, I do not know what will. Does Blackberry still exist?)

Although the weather was surprisingly warm, for the end of September, it was a typical Tuesday morning. My husband went off to work. I was scrambling to get my, now, five year old son fed, dressed, and out at the bus stop for 8:15 a.m. Then, I heard the very familiar beep ding ding beep of my Blackberry Pearl, as I turned it on.

That was where the typical ended and the uneasy, queasy, dizzying, and exhilarating feeling of the unknown began!

I opened my email. It was from a friend in a far off land, CALIFORNIA! (Little did I know, I would be living there in 2 years.)

When you’ve been raised in the Northeast, like I have, you can clearly understand why I think California could easily be considered, a far off land. Massachusetts and California are like apples and oranges. This I found out in 1999, when my husband’s semester abroad, from his University in Nottingham, England, brought him to attend California State University at Long Beach. We lived and I worked in the neighborhood of Belmont Shores in Long Beach, California for 7 months. Enough side notes, let’s get back to the email!

The email stated the following quite directly, the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting was on that week, Brad Pitt was speaking on Thursday about his Make It Right Foundation, and more importantly that I must attend! She knew that this would be an irreplaceable opportunity for me. How right she was!

Wait! Let’s stop right there! Attend the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, how was I going to do that?

What would my husband say? I know… “Let’s be realistic!” Did I have to buy a ticket? Were there tickets available and to the public, for that matter? What would I say, when I got there? I would not know anyone. These were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my mind!

Being my typical self, I pushed all of my fears to the side! I listened to my instincts and ignored the analytical mind of my husband and the critical thinker in my mind! My husband’s favorite saying is, “Well you are going to do what you want, anyway!” I took it as a compliment. Even-though, I don’t necessarily think it was.

He was right! I made the decision that I was going to attend, without any idea of what would happen or how it would happen.

In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, “I have a feeling…” Once I have a feeling, there is no stopping me!

So, I called my friend in California. I told her that I was going to go no matter what. I called my husband at work and told him the same! Then, I made the call to the Clinton Foundation to find out the cost of the tickets! It was $20,000.00 DOLLARS to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative! You had to be a member to attend, which I was not. For most people, this would have been the end of the road for them, but not me!

Well, I called my girlfriend again and we got thinking! Call any and every organization in relation to the Clinton Global Initiative and MAKE IT HAPPEN! Do anything and everything! I had to go! I wanted to make connections! I wanted to grow my enterprise! Sadly, in the end, I did not make any headway on this front. I was left exhausted, but not defeated!

So, Tuesday and Wednesday came and went! It was now Thursday! Today was the day! Brad Pitt was speaking today! I would call upon the Universe for guidance! I would get dressed and something miraculous would happen! Well, it didn’t! Not YET!

I was sat in my kitchen, like a teenage girl stood up on prom night! I was all dressed up, make-up on, and ready to go! Sat at the dining table, I was scared S#!+LESS! All of my fears were running through my mind! How was I going to do this? Then a voice said, “JUST GO FOOL!” That was that. I had made all the arrangements for the sitter! I got on the Long Island Rail Road train and headed into the BIG UNKNOWN, a.k.a. Manhattan!

To be continued…

Preview from the next installment:

I was not in that place with an irrational five year old, any longer. I was in the place, where I was going to make my dreams come true.

I was in THE WOMEN’S RESTROOM of the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers!

If you missed the first installment, you can read it by clicking here.

In future installments, you will find out how I managed to go from being a stay at home mother to running a company, where I have worked with industry influencers, such as Elon Musk and Cindy Crawford.

If you want to see what GEOF became, I welcome you to visit the website at . The site has not been updated since 2013. So, visiting the site is like visiting a museum and observing an ancient relic. Basically, the site looks very dated, but it works as a point of reference for how my journey began.

If you want to see what I am up to now, I welcome you to visit the website for my company ALIGNE at . Learn more about my work by reading the feature that my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, wrote about me, by clicking here.

If you want to change the trajectory of your life and learn the skills that got me to where I am today, I welcome you to visit my ALIGNE Academy at .