Friday, November 9, 2012

Robin Chase and leveraging excess capacity: I'm still working on my niche

Before moving to Washington, DC I was nervous about a few things: namely, that I wouldn't fit in.  That there wouldn't be a place for someone like me (not exactly sure what I mean/t by that but I just didn't see myself here), that I wouldn't be able to carve a niche out in the community and feel like I belonged.  That I would get whip lash from the rat race to which DC is so often compared.  

And while some of all of those things are a little bit true, on the whole I am liking DC much more than I ever thought I would.  I will attribute most of that to the fact that I enjoy my work - especially the folks I work with and the culture of the place I work - and that I can bike most everywhere I need to go (I'm also a firm believer in blooming where you're planted - and DC is where my pot is sitting for now!).  I also already have a network of great college and Peace Corps friends (so lucky!) nearby and my own family is just a train ride away.

With my mind spinning in circles about all of the above, it's a welcome respite, and inspiration, to listen to folks like Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of ZipCar who is on the World Resources Institute's Board of Directors, speak about things like my role in the economy and the importance of community and strengthening our ties to it while also spreading our global reach.  In her speech, Robin took complex concepts (at least, they sounded that way to me!) and made them tangible and easy(ier) to understand.  She broke down what industrialized capitalism and collaborative economies are and did so in a way that made me want to learn more about my role in both.  She shared her passion for clean transportation in a way that made me want to, well, write about it on my blog!

With Abdoulaye's arrival to the US on the horizon (when???  We don't yet know!!), I have been thinking a lot about what I am doing here in Washington, DC.  And when I think about somewhere I want to live, this is it for now.  I am delighted about the number of things available to do and the electric nature of the city as evidenced by talks like the one Robin gave at work as well as the chance to live in the same city as the President of our nation.  As for leveraging my excess capacity?  I've got an extensive shoe collection, a lot of scarves, piles of Malian fabric and a green bike that I ride for about an hour and 1/2 a day.  Let's just say I'm still working on my niche :)

Listen to Robin's talk about industrialized capitalism and collaborative economies below - truly fascinating!!

Here's here Ted talk about transportation and fuel efficiency.  I wonder if she only wears red shoes?

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