What a day! As I sat sipping mint tea to unwind, I reflected upon my afternoon. President Obama invited me to join Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry to welcome President Xi Jinping and Madame Liyuan to the USA at the official State Luncheon! I was in awe of the magnitude and presence of government officials and secret service. For a moment I felt my alias should be Agent OOSO. It was high intensity the minute you were dropped off a block away from the state building, walking up in your stilettos and tight skirt going through 5 layers of security. After being questioned several times, I started to question my own identity.
Leading up to the grand, lavish room only navy suits and secret service agents that bench press 500 lbs surrounded the interior.
I started to feel heavy, intimidated and I felt like a 5 year old dropped off at a birthday party, now searching for my daddy with concern in my eyes. I took a deep breath, sat down at my table and everyone started to introduce themselves. I learned a new word for the day: “Disctrict.” Because the majority of the men were Congressmen, Senators and CEOs of fortune 500 companies, like Apple CEO Tim Cook. He was standing right behind me in line getting in and for the life of me I recognized his face but I could not place him!
When we went around the table and the question was asked of me, “what do you do?” I replied with a smile, “I make people HAPPY! I’m a jewelry designer”…OMG, I wish I had a camera on the wall, that moment was priceless.
The speeches from both the President of China and Vice President Biden were powerful and meaningful. Especially, after I watched the Pope’s address to Congress on important humanitarian and climate issues throughout our world. I love learning and listening, and thinking about ways we can do things better together. TO have a common goal despite our differences for a greater cause, how we are all partners in life. The takeaways were empowering.
There were many highlights such as meeting Madame Albright, Dr. Kissinger, telling Secretary John Kerry I just want to shake the hand of the man who shook the Pope’s hand a few hours earlier! Connecting the dots of history right before me. The days of Dr Kissinger serving President Kennedy was a very important era for my parents, the stories I listened to as a child felt surreal. The stories of how we were all immigrants at some point coming to this great land to work, build, provide for our families and do great things!
Vice President Biden and I had a few good minutes to share and I was humbled that he knew of our company. When I said “Mimi So, jewelry designer,” I actually didn’t get to the word designer, when I said jewelry, he said he knew of my work. I had the biggest smile and shared how our company started out, creative innovative designs, made in America, handmade right here in the heart of NYC. We employ a melting pot of cultures, mentoring young students and providing apprenticeships, blending old world artisan craftsmanship and modern day efficiency. It gave me great pride to speak of our company, share the passion, dedication, and what drive it takes to believe in the dream. His response was, “Mimi keep up the good work, you are the American dream…” He smiled and walked away. I never discovered how it happened that I was invited to such an elite gathering, it remains an honor and a mystery to me.
It means a great deal to be recognized especially when you are so busy going from place to place. That someone thought enough of you to be in the same room with such a distinguished crowd. I tried to bring my Daddy as my guest to meet the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jingping, but it was not possible. So I took many pictures to share with my Dad and now I’m sharing them with you.