A million years ago, when I was in boarding school at Madeira in Greenway, VA I was a virtual outcast. Like my mother and sister, I'd elected to go to boarding school because Madeira offered what I thought at the time was a better education and going off to boarding school was what you were supposed to do in NYC in the 60s. I soon discovered that I was something of a misfit, not quite finding a place in the southern boarding school life. Some place along the way, inspired by my Aunt Carmel, I joined the Garden Club and met Holly Knowlton who, looking back, was probably the nicest kid in my class. She was certainly the nicest one to me. She didn't care that I wasn't cool, or "in" or any of the other things that made you the high school "influential". She was a friend, and that's what I needed at the time. We traded Christmas cards for years. She did the traditional thing, and married a nice military guy named David Petraeus, who is now in charge of the US military operation in Iraq and she is someone that the President is grateful to.. Turns out, she's just as good a friend today as she was back then, not to me, but to a much more important constituency.
I'm now running a $1 million + company in New Hampshire and would like to think that I have a little influence over the tiny kingdom that is PR research. It's incredibly cool to me to think that these two kids, who weren't part of the "in crowd" are now so much happier (and influential) than we were at Madeira.