Happy Valentine's Day! On the day that we celebrate the heart, I want to share a story about a very special man. Basketball legend BILL WALTON is a true gentle man whose limitless kindness toward others reveals deep humanity and enormous heart. Not a week goes by that I don't hear one or two stories about Bill's generosity of spirit, but this one especially caught my attention.
"BILL WALTON is as good on stage as a speaker as he was on the court as a player. My client, the donors, and guests were completely blown away,” said the organizer from the Utah Clean Air Partnership fund-raiser. The email went on, "To be honest, our board of directors questioned my recommendation of Bill as the keynote speaker. After the event, they apologized for questioning me...profusely. We are not sure how we will top Bill's passion and the memorable delivery he gave at next year's event.”
A GUTSY MOVE KATTY KAY made a brave career decision in 2019. She took time off from broadcasting – taking a work sabbatical from the BBC and MSNBC. Katty's husband Tom, who runs the Washington, D.C. office for Africaworks, was setting up a non-profit in Senegal and it represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go and help out and also do research for her next book. Katty also brought her 13-year-old daughter Poppy, who attended school there. “She had an amazing cultural experience...and I think we’ve given our daughter the best education we could give her,” Katty said.
COL. NICOLE MALACHOWSKI (USAF, RET) wanted to fly military fighter jets since the age of five when she saw her first air show. She achieved that dream and then some. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Nicole was among the first group of women to fly modern fighter aircraft, one of the first women to fly in combat (logging 188 combat hours), and the first-ever woman to fly in the USAF Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron.
As entertaining in the broadcast booth as he is a keynote speaker "Bill Walton is a national treasure," read one headline. "Walton was tapped for color commentary in Friday night’s White Sox broadcast and it was a treat for the senses," it went on to say. The Chicago White Sox tried an experiment in the broadcast booth last weekend. Regular announcer Steve Stone was taking the weekend off and the team paired Jason Benetti with four guest broadcasters, one of which was basketball legend BILL WALTON. The decision was inspired because Bill Walton lit up the online universe - becoming the #1 trending topic on Twitter that evening. Walton preceded his trip (no pun intended) to the broadcast booth with a pre-game talk to the team about the challenges of playing professional sports. It was uplifting advice from an icon who knows a thing or two on the ups and downs of a pro sports career. Bill then ambled up to the White Sox booth on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, wearing extremely bright Sox branded tie dyed t-shirts with a mindset to match. Benetti knew the kind of evening he was in for, having worked with Walton at the Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament for ESPN in the past. He gave Bill lots of room to be Bill. With that the evening began and the headlines after the game said it all:
THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF NICOLE MALACHOWSKI
Keeping up with legendary basketball icon BILL WALTON, the most colorful and original sports personality on television, can be a real challenge. He is always on the move - making news and having fun. Here are some recent fun videos and articles on Bill:
COL. NICOLE MALACHOWSKI (USAF, RET.) has an indomitable spirit. Determined from the age of five to fly fighter jets, she went on to a distinguished 21-year career in the United States Air Force and became the first woman to be part of the Thunderbirds, the elite USAF air demonstration squadron. The ultimate high-performance-under-pressure team, Nicole and five other Thunderbirds flew at over 400 mph and 300 feet off the ground – separated by as little as 36 inches. Nicole is a rock star in military aviation and was inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame Museum.
NATIONAL WOMEN'S HALL OF FAME INDUCTS NICOLE MALACHOWSKI They all came! For some reason, I didn’t think they all would – I imagined someone would have had an overriding obligation of some sort. But no: Every living inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for 2019 was there. The inductees included women I instantly recognized: Jane Fonda, Sonia Sotomayor, Angela Davis, Diane von Furstenberg, and Gloria Allred. Then there were others who, though I didn't recognize them, were equally exceptional and accomplished women. And then there was my friend, COL. NICOLE MALACHOWSKI, USAF (Ret.)
IT AFFECTS GIRLS WAY MORE THAN BOYS It’s a paradox – girls are achieving like never before, yet they’re consumed with doubt on the inside. Girls worry constantly about how they look, what people think, whether to try out for a sports team or school play, why they aren’t getting “perfect” grades, and how many “likes” and followers they have online.