Are You a Fighter?

Revelations from the 1st day of SXSWedu

I’m at SXSWedu…an educational conference in Austin, TX. Arriving this afternoon, I had some memory of what to expect because I’ve had the opportunity to experience a couple SXSW events. For this one, I’m on an observational and listening journey. I want to know what the latest and greatest is in regards to education and I also want to talk with people about our two positions available at Noble Impact.

My first mission was to walk downtown after arriving at our Airbnb…a 2.5 mile trek. After getting downtown, I went to the convention center only to find out that registration begins at 4 p.m. So, I went across the street to hang out until registration opened.

While watching ESPN in the bar and grill area, a guy sat down about three chairs away…we proceeded to talk about the UFC fight from last night because highlights were showing on the flat screen in front of us. He asked if I was a fighter, “Me? Nah…there’s no way I could do that.”

Our conversation continued and I asked if he was here for SXSWedu, and he said yes. He then asked if I was presenting, which I replied, “No, you?” He replied yes, and I asked what it was about…”Neuroscience and Preventing Violence.” I thought to myself, wow, that’s not a traditional education type presentation.

I asked where he was from…”Newtown, Connecticut.” Hmmmm.

I paused, and he told me,

“My daughter was killed in Sandy Hook.”

My heart dropped and I replied something like, “I can’t even imagine.” But this is where the conversation got rich…he proceeded to tell me that I COULD imagine. I was shocked. He was taking a very high road…he was empowered and creating an avenue to make a difference.

We spent the next 45 minutes sharing stories…he showed me pictures of who he loved and I showed him pictures of who I loved. We shared our personal narratives. It was an amazing conversation, especially after he told me about the mission of The Avielle Foundation.

Jeremy Richman lost his 1st grade, 6 year old daughter, Avielle Rose Richman, on December 14th, 2012. He is now here in Austin, TX…sharing his story and educating people about “Preventing Violence Through Research and Community Education”.

Dr. Jeremy Richman, Founder and CEO, The Avielle Foundation

At the end of our conversation, ESPN was still showing highlights of the UFC fight and I asked him, “Are you a fighter?” He responded, “Yes, I think it’s what we all did as kids, rough housing, I really enjoy it.” He showed me pictures of his UFC type group and it made me understand that Jeremy Richman is a fighter through and through…not quite sure anyone is going to stop him on the mission of The Avielle Foundation.

I just became a big fan of Jeremy Richman and it begs the question,

“What would you fight for?”