Kim Receiving Her Defy Award
Kim Receiving Her Defy Award

It always amazes me how a bunch of guys who may have nothing in common other than their gender can instantly connect over sports.  I know I’m generalizing.  After all, my father NEVER chats about sports. But given the fact that I have been surrounded by boys and men much of my life, I can safely say that for the majority of the population, sports is a major unifier.

The same is true for beauty.  Even if women have differing opinions on the topic so many of us can connect over the topic.  More than that, I think it brings us together.

My proof?

This we week I had the privilege of hosting Defy Ventures at our offices for a few days of events.  Defy is a non-for-profit group, headed by CEO (and my friend) Catherine Hokethat provides formerly incarcerated men and women (Entrepreneurs in Training) with second chances to rebuild their lives via mentorship and guidance.

The events included semi-finals and final business competitions (which I was privileged to judge) and promotion and award ceremonies.  Family members and friends came from near and far to help celebrate.  The winner of the final competitions and a recently freed ex-con, Kim, brought her 20 year-old daughter to the event.  Both Kim and her daughter, despite their tough backgrounds, were poised, elegant women.  Kim’s daughter is studying cosmetology so we immediately had a passion in common.  Clearly we come from different backgrounds, have different skin colors and are decades apart.  But our shared interest in beauty helped connect us.  Moreover, it put both Kim and her daughter at ease immediately despite the environment of our offices.

I barely remember the details of our conversation….I think it was about skin hues (I’m a yellow) and cutting hair short (which we both recently did).  But what I do remember was the FEELING we both had — a feeling of ease, happiness and connection.

While I sometimes wish I knew the hot basketball teams or football players so I can join my kids’ conversations, at least I know I have a key to bonding with almost all women.  And I always learn something too!

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