Amber and I woke up around 7:30 in anticipation for our first day at the National Headquarters. Fortunately, headquarters was about two blocks from where the group was staying at George Washington University. The group arrived at Headquarters together at about 8:55. We learned quickly to always arrive early! We received name tags, access passes (to get in the building and for the elevators.) Then we had a welcome introduction and met Brian Hamil, the man behind this whole program!
Our first guest speaker was Michael Brown, Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships at the American Red Cross. He really set the tone for our time here in D.C. He was energetic and passionate about what he does every day. His enthusiasm got the whole group very excited for what was to come! A quote he said to us by John Wooden stated, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.” This quote is so true, many people are so caught up with what other people think about them when they should be more concerned with their life and living it to their potential regardless of what others think.
Our next speaker was Gerald (Jerry) DeFrancisco, who is President of Humanitarian Services at the Red Cross. I loved his presentation because he showed me how amazing international services are and made me want to join the Red Cross or Peace Corps and leave the United States for the while and be a volunteer and make an impact in a third world country.
After Jerry’s eye opening presentation, Shaun Gilmore, the President of Biomedical Services at the Red Cross came to speak to the group. He oversees all of the biomedical services at the ARC so he is a huge deal! His job as President of Biomedical Services is to grow the business and to provide leadership. His attitude is that at every opportunity, he asks himself “How can I make a difference?” I think that is a great way to look at life and I plan to strive to take that quote to heart.
After Shaun’s presentation, we walked a few blocks to the other buildings of ARC National Headquarters and received a tour of that area. We went into a beautiful room where we learned that our reception would take place there. After the tour, Katie and Tori brought the group upstairs so we could get settled at our desks in our office. And it was a beautiful view! We could see the Washington Monument right from where we were sitting, it was amazing!
We left the office around five, and headed back to the dorms to get changed to go to dinner. We went to Baja Fresh, sort of like a Chipotle for dinner, and it was good! After dinner, we relaxed and just got to know each other better as we walked to the Harbor (on the Potomac River). We met Brian there and also one of our speakers for the next day, Cameron and his wife, Sam, for gelato at the harbor. I had never had gelato before and it was delicious!
Around 10, a group of us girls decided we wanted to go running. Sam, Larke, Kayla, Becky and I headed out for our first tour of Washington D.C. We all tried to stay together as a group at first, but then Sam and I broke off a bit to release some of our energy. We were trying to run to the White House, but since it was dark we ran right past it and just kept on going. What was meant to be a thirty minute run ended up being over an hour! It felt great though, running in a beautiful city, I thought I could run forever!