Every once in a while I look up and find myself in a room full of innovative, inspiring, and interesting people. This is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago at The Next 50 and Startup Washington launch party. On Thursday, September 6, 2012, several socially, environmentally, and ecologically conscious entrepreneurs, researches, consultants, and other forward-thinking individuals gathered to celebrate the innovative nature and opportunities that exist right here in Washington. Below are some of the pictures (photographs provided courtesy of Andrew Vanasse of Vanasse Studios for Menrva Labs) and videos from that event.
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Today, I am taking a moment to recognize an individual who has made a positive difference in my life and the lives of the multitudes of people who have been fortunate enough to cross paths with her. Rashmir Balasubramaniam is, among many other things, an educator, learner, connector, synthesizer, problem solver, and innovator. She is also a major catalyst behind Startup Washington, an organization with a mission to create a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs. My relationship with Rashmir began almost a year ago at Bainbridge Graduate Institute where she taught the difficult yet necessary class Diversity and Social Justice. Similarly to both Dr. Don Parks and Dr. Maria Lowe, two educators who greatly influenced me in the past at Southwestern University, Rashmir pushed me (and continues to push me) to see things in different ways and continuously strive to be a better version of myself. And she doesn't just do it for me. She seems to positively influence everyone she comes in contact with.
Last night I had the opportunity to document the launch party for Next 50 and Startup Washington, as well as and a panel discussion moderated by Women in Innovation Summit founder Kristiina Hiukka, that included Jill Bamburg(www.linkedin.com/pub/jill-bamburg/0/74b/730), Carol Sanford, and Pamela Contag. Although she was master of ceremonies and handling all of the duties that come along with that job, Rashmir still took a few moments to share a few words with me. Here they are…
I spoke with several attendees and sponsors last night. Overwhelmingly the highlights included the meaningful connections and reconnections they made with each other. The vast majority of the people last night were there because they believe they can change the world through ideas, connections, technology, and innovation. Their shared mission was palpable. And we've heard time and time again that the people crazy enough to think they change the world are the ones who do. Until next time…peace.