Victoria’s Secrets: The powerful magic of books

Maria Shriver talked about her book “I’ve Been Thinking…” at Molloy College.

From hearing John Lithgow read a child’s story to reinvigorate his dying father, to seeing Maria Shriver interviewed about her best-selling newest book, I’ve Been Thinking, to a Saturday night dinner party with three authors, it’s been an inspiring week!

Then, throw in the unique tribute to 40 women at our show-stopping, successful Brooklyn Power Women in Business Awards & Networking Event, and it was a week to cherish and relish!

Many of you know John Lithgow from his 40-year career in theatre, TV, movies and yes, even dancing with the New York City Ballet. He is performing now on Broadway in the sold-out, one-man show, John Lithgow: Stories by Heart. I was thrilled to experience the actor who personifies the best of that genre.

His tale in two acts brings us along as he visits his critically ill and depressed father who had been a firebrand for most of his over 80 years. John remembers how his dad had read him books every night when he was a child, and it occurred to him that he would read his dad one of those cherished stories, “Uncle Fred Flits By,” by P.G. Wodehouse.

John Lithgow's "Stories by Heart" told a powerful story of laughter
John Lithgow’s “Stories by Heart” told a powerful story of laughter

The moving story performed by Lithgow in the voices of all the characters made me laugh out loud — and, as Lithgow remembered, his dad also laughed from his sickbed. The laughter little by little brought his dad out of his depression and out of bed and back to “life.”

I was there with him for the journey and appreciated the lesson for us all evoked by the power of laughter and the power of theatre.

It was an unforgettable performance.

Later in the week, there I was with Maria Shriver from my front row center seat, thanks to my friend Joan McNaughton, at the Madison Theatre at Molloy College.

Indeed, she is beautiful, smart, warm and fascinating to listen to! She enthralled the sold-out theatre. I’m a forever fan of the Kennedys and it felt so good to be up close with a member of that historic clan and survivor.

Her 12th book, I’ve Been Thinking, is a powerful series of chapters that are made up of a collection of “Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.” The front cover photo of her was taken by her son, one of her four beloved children, while on a family vacation.

She has had, like all of us, a life of challenges, and from her perch, first as a Kennedy child, then as an Emmy and Peabody-award winning journalist, First Lady of California, and advocate and philanthropist for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a disease her mom lived through. From her talk last week, it sounded like her life as a writer and mother and now an empty nester has been balanced by her faith and her writing.

I put the book by my nightstand because it has many three-page chapters that are quick to read but filled with powerful, insightful passages. Here are two samples:

*“Talk of love, not hate, things to do – it’s getting late.”

*”I’ve so little time and I’m only passing through” by Dick Blakeslee in “Passing Through.” The theme of the chapter is making our time here on earth matter. She writes, “I believe we are meant for a distinct purpose to make our world more caring, more conscious and yes, more compassionate.” Amen!

Each chapter ends in a prayer. I particularly like this one. ”Dear God, help me to confidently answer the calling to help make the world a better place by being caring, tender, and respectful toward others.” Amen!

It’s a special book by a special woman.

Dave and Carrie Kerpen celebrating their books (photo via Twitter/@DaveKerpen)
Dave and Carrie Kerpen celebrating their books (photo via Twitter/@DaveKerpen)

Later in the week, I was part of a unique dinner party at the enormous home (they call it their “white elephant”) of Dave and Carrie Kerpen, writers, entrepreneurs and co- CEOs of Likeable Media.

Dave is considered the “#1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time in pageviews,” said David Teten of Angel Investing. He has written one of my favorite books, The Art of People. Carrie is a columnist for Forbes, and has appeared on ABC World News, Fox News and CNBC. She has keynoted conferences around the world and most recently released her latest book, Work It — Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business. The Kerpens have three children.

They are a warm and loving power couple who hold dinner parties for 12 people who come from different worlds but have had an impact in their fields. It was a great night of drinks, food, enthralling conversation and new friendships.

The Power Women of Brooklyn event brought out over 500 people.
The Power Women of Brooklyn event brought out over 500 people.

Adding to the excitement of the week was our salute to 40 fabulous women at Brooklyn’s El Caribe. The rain held out until the end of the evening as we all ran for our cars after the event, but there was nothing to dampen the excitement and joy of the women and their hundreds of friends. I loved how the crowd rushed for photos with the popular Borough President Eric Adams.

I’m so proud of my team in our Events division run by Amy and in Brooklyn, Lori, with her team of Amanda, Christine, Mona and Arlene, and Helen, who edited the Power Women biographies.

Thanks to our hard-working staff and particularly Lisa, selling endlessly, we were able to raise $2,000 from raffles for the influential Brooklyn Community Foundation whose mission is summed up by its vision statement: “A fair and just Brooklyn, built on dignity and respect, where all residents have the opportunity to participate and prosper.” They aim to help children in need and immigrant families.

It was a night and a week to keep in my memory bank forever!

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