I am a big fan of animals. My dog Maggie has been a critical part of my existence for years, so it is a big surprise to me that I have never been to the Charleston Animal Society building in North Charleston. It's even more of a surprise because I was stationed around the corner from it for so many years. Fortunately, connecting with people has the power to move us from the day-to-day paths of our own touring onto the paths of others. In connecting with Elena Lawson, I got just that chance, to step of my routine path and step inside this amazing place.
Elena is a cool person to chat with. She is calm and relaxed, unassuming and easy to talk to, it's easy to see how she can be such an asset to this group. Elena met her husband playing coed soccer. He is a pilot, though not from a military background, he learned outside of the service and has been a civilian pilot since. They have a 15 year old daughter, and that is the dream. Elena is a person who dreams of and lives for her family. I have seen this before with other friends of mine. For some people the dream is a job or a lifestyle, for others it is there family, the life and love found at home.
To be honest, I have always been a little envious of this type of person. It is something that a part of me has always wanted, but also something that has not happened yet. When I meet people who have this dream, I love to talk to them. It's seeing something new and yet something I have always wanted to see. I imagine this is the way some people feel about how much of the world I have gotten to see. Fascination is, like most things in relationships, a two way street.
Elena gave me a tour of the Charleston Animal Society building in North Charleston. It is a really impressive operation. I am a bit biased, I love cats and dogs, so getting to be around so many is automatically going to lift my spirits a bit. Still, I am impressed by the work they do and how much passion is clearly visible in the work. Elena is an example of it. She is very busy with work and home life, and setting the programs for a non-profit is a full plate. Still, she walks me around with a pride of purpose that is clear. It's a subtle thing, not grandstanding, but honestly knowing that what you are doing makes a difference.
I am so impressed by this group that I would urge any of you to find a way to participate. Whether volunteering, donating food or blankets or even coming here to find your next pet, it all helps. They have their biggest event of the year, a chili cook-off coming in November, I will be there and i'd like to see you there too. (All of this is me sharing by the way. Not being asked to do it, but when someone with such passion introduces you to such a good cause, you want to help however you can.)
Elena and I are about the same age, it makes our talk interesting when we discuss the differences in generations, made so much more clear by her daughter. We joke about being able to leave whether people liked us or not back at school, a feat that social media makes almost impossible these days. We talk about changes in the world, about how much scarier things seem some days, especially when you are a parent. I don't have many concerns, but I don't have kids. Elena is refreshing though. I often think, admittedly through my own bias, that parents are probably more afraid of people these days because of all of the danger seemingly lurking behind every screen, and yet Elena still loves meeting people.
She loves networking, the events too, although not all of them. Elena has instincts that she knows and trusts. We all do really, though how much we trust them seems to be the major distinguishing factor here. She trusts her gut on people she meets, and she trusts her impression of networking events. Sure there are events that are filled with sales people, and there does seem to be the same core group at many things, but you just have to trust your instincts and go where you want to go.
Elena loves networking so much, that she created her own event, Craft Beers and Paws. It makes sense, your dog wants to network too.
I'm going to have to check that out.
Favorite Dinosaur: T-Rex
Why: Loves the short arms