Posted by: ketheredge | March 6, 2014

Barcelona Bound: Microsoft’s Global Forum

Today I leave for Barcelona to attend Microsoft’s Global Forum. From over 23,000 applicants Microsoft selected a little over 250 educators to attend – an Olympics for teachers, if you will. While I am certain everyone attending the forum is thrilled, I have to admit I am teary as I sit on the plane.

You see, over twenty years ago I first dreamed of visiting Barcelona for the 1992 summer Olympics. My dream wasn’t simply to watch. My dream was to compete in the 400 m hurdles. Many were shocked to hear my dream. A 92 pound twig didn’t seem to have the proper stock for such a Herculean feat. I was undeterred. For every naysayer I worked harder.

Every hurdle drill, weight lifted, run was for Barcelona. Knowing my dream, my brother purchased me a Barcelona Olympics t-shirt. I frequently wore it for extra motivation, and I continued working and dreaming until my final collegiate race when it was clear the dream wasn’t a reality.

I was sad, of course. To be honest, at the time, I felt like a bit of a loser. Just a bit. I stopped running for a while and moved on to the next adventure – law school. Deep down, however, I knew I wasn’t a loser. No one who dreams big and gives her all can ever lose! They can fail, but that isn’t losing. Losers don’t go after their dreams. As the necklace my mom gave me as a child says, “winners never quit and quitters never win.”

I knew this all so deeply in my heart that I tried training again for Atlanta. In that journey, every so often, I would pull out my Barcelona shirt for motivation. Every hard practice, every early morning run, I focused on my Olympic dream. My shins, however, had other ideas. Stress fractures.

Although I still didn’t realize my Olympic dream, the journey led me to a change in careers – from lawyering to coaching and teaching. With the same competitor’s spirit, I poured my heart and soul into my new career.

Similar to my running dreams, I encountered naysayers. Without an education degree, for many, I was just “the lawyer who teaches” – not a real teacher. Again, I was undeterred. Classroom management eluded me at first; I admit. I knew, however, I could improve. For 14 years, I’ve trained every day for a job I absolutely love.

Next week, I’ll get to share that training with others. I’ll collaborate rather than compete and love every minute of it!

I packed my Barcelona shirt. All these years later, no matter how many times I cleaned out closets, I never wanted to let go of the fighting spirit it represents.

(My apologies for typos and the picture size in this post. I wrote the post on my phone in the airport and editing – or adding this warning – was a bit challenging on such a small screen. 😉 )


  1. […] Microsoft’s Global Forum – collaboration.  As I embarked on my journey to Barcelona, I wrote about my excitement to attend the forum and Barcelona’s connection to my former Olympic dreams.  While I was […]

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