By: Djoudie Etoundi, MBA ’13
Last Wednesday was Ambassador Barbara Barrett’s night on our campus!
All parties from the T-Bird community – students, faculty, staff, donors – turned up at the TEC at 6 Pm to thank and properly say goodbye to Thunderbird’s interim president for the past eight months for the profound impact she had on our school and also on each of us personally.
One after another, the representatives of each of these constituencies expressed their appreciation for Ambassador Barrett’s display of decisive, dedicated and humble leadership throughout her tenure:
Amir Emadi (TSG president), Professor Dale Davidson (Head of Faculty), Rebecca Henrikssen (VP for Marketing and Enrollment), all gave moving speeches, as did current Thunderbird President, Larry Penley.
But the evening wasn’t just about heartfelt speeches; all the skills of the T-Bird community were on display. The recently created ThunderDance Club put on a repeat performance of their EMEA Regional Night routine, in front of an audience which included the owners of Wal-Mart, Mr. & Mrs. Dan Walton, among other high profile guests and friends of Ambassador Barrett. Apparently Mr. Walton felt ThunderDance President Jennifer Juma and her crew had skills which could be useful when replicated in business negotiations…
Global Sounds gave a typical T-Bird performance with a guitar and Indian drums playing the theme song from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and a beautiful song in German whose harmony touched us all and whose words must have been really sweet to the German speakers among us.
Last but not least, a poem by Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman”, was read in the Ambassador’s honor by a select group including “10,000 Women” Program Manager Amy Scerra.
One female member of our campus community whose presence was felt quietly all throughout the proceedings was Gbemi Disu (Special Assistant to the Thunderbird President’s Office), the silent engine of this entire celebration.
True to from Ambassador Barrett maintained her warm and composed presence, and when time came for her to speak, she turned the tables on her successor and on us, by challenging all of us to become leaders now and in the future!
A true characteristic of vision and leadership!
The Das Tor team would like to convey their heartfelt thanks to Ambassador Barrett, who has been a constant source of support, encouragement and inspiration.