Today’s Austin American Statemen has an article honoring the contribution that Betty Sue Flowers has been making to Austin and the world– especially as she takes on her next adventure- moving from Austin after 45 years of being here, to be with her love, former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley.
Betty Sue Flowers had a fundamental impact on my life. Many of you have heard the story of my trip to Chile, and how it was fundamental to the path that I was taking in devoting my life to supporting entrepreneurs. Because of her connection to Joseph Campbell, and my awareness that I was about to take on a hero’s journey, I contacted her to see if she would give me advice on what I should do in preparing and creating a model for supporting entrepreneurs. I still remember her saying to me… “If you are serious about this, you should go to Chile. You should meet Senator Fernando Flores.” I don’t think that I was ready to hear those words… but she said them, I think three times…. “If you are serious about this….”.
What is amazing is that those words and my year spent in Chile in 2003 opened up doors of awareness that I can not imagine any other way that I might have found. Thank you Dr. Flowers. And only after years do I feel comfortable in saying “Thank you Betty Sue”.
The following letter is somewhat personal, but in in honoring her, I repost it here, for she has had a fundamental impact in my life, and I want the world to know of my gratitude for her:
I’ve been meaning to write you as soon as I heard on the radio and today in the newspaper that you are moving to NYC. I want to say thank you from the deepest part of my heart for the doors that you have opened for me. Our conversation in 2003 has sparked adventure after adventure as I follow my bliss. I am sorry that I have not told you over the years about how the door that you opened as fundamentally shifted my life. Going to Chile continues to pay dividends through the awareness that I gained by being there- an awareness I can not imagine having happen any other way.
Let me share some of the openings that you have created through me.
We’ve launched Tech Ranch Austin, a technology venture accelerator, where we support entrepreneurs in launching their ventures. Since November 15, 2008, over 100 entrepreneurs have gone through our “office hour” program. We’ve engaged 12 startups in their earliest steps of growth. Two weeks ago we launched the “Employee to Entrepreneur” Program, with our first class of 12 students- (many of these guys were laid off, and now are starting ventures). One of our companies is proceeding to the third level of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Another of our companies was funded $4.2 million in Series A funding. We held an Entrepreneur Town Hall Meeting of 80 entrepreneurs from across the City of Austin in March, and now the Economic Development Office of the City of Cedar Park is paying us to launch an Entrepreneur Town Hall Meeting there. Also for Cedar Park we will be forming an “Enterprise Tribe”. (Enterprise Tribe is what I now call the model that has developed out of what I originally took to Chile).
Its been a remarkable six years since our meeting. The first years were hard as I stumbled around trying to understand what life was telling me to do. I now feel a clarity, and have an ease of movement towards the vision that we talked about so many years ago- its funny what time and practice, and helpers along the path have opened up to my eyes now.
I’ve often times held back in telling you how much I greatly appreciate the spark that you shared with me- the opening of the door to Chile- which, by the way, I still stay in contact with several of the four guys that Fernando put me in contact with. Thank you for the gift you have given me.
I am excited in reading that you are about to open yourself up to the next adventure with your move to New York City. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you. I do hope to get to connect with you again before you leave… or at some point in the future. Is there any way that I can be of assistance? Also, let me know if there is time that you have for a coffee or lunch. I understand that with the move, you will be very busy- but please know that I would greatly enjoy connecting with you as the time permits.
Also, do let me know if you change your email address- I would like to stay in contact if at all possible.
Thank you very much.