I’m am weary from today.

Today was a huge Intern / Employer appreciation lunch down at the Hyatt where we invited all employers who hired summer interns to a luncheon.  I hijacked the opportunity to introduce some of the multimedia, networking, and software dev. folks to each other.  Each one of those groups has been working independently, and I’m moving to have them combine their efforts to achieve more incredible results than they could on their own.

In fact, I spent a lot of time today introducing people to each other for lots of different reasons.  It suddenly became very clear what value CATF, and by extension, I have in this community:

It’s all about the connections.  Because, for example, I’m aware of different technology folks from all around the area (representing all sorts of groups, ideas, and projects), and because I have a technical background that allows me to connect wildly different dots (ex. “oh! Darrell’s competency models would fit nicely with Al’s metrics database”), I can initiate relationships!

Slowly, I become the guy who knows people… and more importantly, understands what they are doing.  hmmmm… interesting.

Seems that things are going according to plan.

Oh, and I had lunch with the mayor of Austin, Gus Garcia (who spoke at the luncheon).

Afterwards, some of the staff got sat around a table and ate lunch (we were too busy during the event to eat), and the mayor sat down (as did a well-known Austin reporter, April Molina, from Fox 7).

April and Mayor Garcia got into a conversation about Hispanics in Austin (I’m not interested in misrepresenting his political stances, but he seemed very, very pro La Raza).  It was one of those occasions that I thought best to smile and nod and say, “oh, that’s interesting” rather than try to engage the guy in some sort of debate… That’s turning out to be one of the more difficult things for me.

Is it a comprimise of my value system, for example, to make sure I over-pronounce the accent and strange little tilde in my last name when I meet two women from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce?

I am learning in this weird world of politics I’ve found myself in that sometimes, it does more good to not disagree with someone.  After all, the mayor just wanted to relax and enjoy his lunch.  He didn’t need a punk kid who doesn’t know any better get in his face for ANY reason- especially not for anything that would especially push his buttons.  At any rate, I learned a little more about where he was coming from.

If my mission is to help make Austin a better place for employers and workers, and if appealing to the interests of people I’m talking with helps relationships and ultimately helps get things done… hmmm… I guess it’s about picking your battles.

ARGH!  I think through osmosis in the non-profit world, I’m losing touch with my hard-nosed, ultra-conservative roots!  Whatever happened to the boy who turned down affirmative action scholarships?!