Last week after hosting San Francisco's, The Lives of the Creators, I sat down to write and process my thoughts on the event. The speakers talks spoke deeply to me on the the honest perspective of what it is to be human. As they shared not so much on their incredible accomplishments but on the fear, challenges, insecurity, and vulnerability encountered along they way. They did so with the humble profundity that can only be enveloped in the truth.
Perhaps none more poignantly then when Mark and Lara Menning, the founders of Nucleo Life Sciences, started their talk with his wife and co-founder telling us the words that changed their lives, “It’s back”. His cancer had returned and they wondered how much time they had left together, in the end he is still here today. But it was those words of his doctor, which changed his focus from having co-invented 6 drugs to prevent HIV and prolong the lives of those who are afflicted by it to focusing on creating a breakthrough in our search for a cure to cancer. They told us they will begin testing next month on a drug which is showing great promise from keeping cancer cells from spreading through the body, causing them to stay in one small mass making them infinitely more treatable.
Fernando Briosos told us of growing up in poverty and eating rice three meals a day, making boats out of felled banana trees to avoid flooding and move his family to safety, “but since we didn’t own anything at least we didn’t have to worry about carry things with us,” he told us. And then in moving to America, working as a Janitor to put himself through school, only to find himself unable to get a job. So instead he started his own company and with his successes and through his investments here in America he is now going to bring clean water wells to the Indigenous tribe he was raised alongside as a boy in his native Philippines.
Brett Amory told us of his journey from being told he was a terrible art student and switching his major while taking 10 years to get a four year degree in art school and that this had taught him that talent is not so necessary as is dedication. He had just returned from a show in New York City the day before after opening his recent installation in Indiana at The Museum of Modern Art. He spoke of how connecting with people, places, and communities became his inspiration through watching us pile into trains and sit next to each other in cities but fail to be present with those around us and through that perhaps too failing to be present with ourselves.
Dr. Phil McGillivary shared the idea and importance behind positive teachers and passing knowledge along as he has found his way from very humble beginnings to going on to study and learn from the Indigenous and Traditional Maritime Cultures around the world as well as having collaborated with Nobel Peace Prize winners, Google Oceans, and NASA Ames along the way.
In the end the part that leapt off the page of life for me was when Ansar showed up. Ansar is a musician I had met in the BART subway system more than 4 months ago, I told him about the Lives of the Creators after I bought his CD and when the event was I then told him that I would love for him to play live at the event, but had no postcard or information to give him. Beautifully testament to the content of his character, over all those months from one brief conversation in the subway station he remembered not only the event but the time, date, and location, he showed up and surprised everyone with his golden voice. But no one their knew that I was most surprised of all because I myself had forgotten our one brief conversation in the subway and yet there he was more than 4 months later. Better than the beauty of his golden voice, I told him as the audience applauded, was his golden word.
I truly enjoyed hosting The Lives of the Creators. I find public speaking and storytelling has a way of making me feel alive and connecting not just ideas but people to our own inner potential to share, learn, create, and grow.