A few weeks ago, I had the great honor of meeting our former President, First Lady and my heroes, Barack and Michelle Obama, along with Revolution VC’s Steve Case, JD Vance, and several of Rise of the Rest’s portfolio CEOs including Jonathan Webb (AppHarvest), Jake Hsu (Catalyte), Jewel Burks (PartPic), and Megan Glover (120 Water Audit) for a discussion on the importance of supporting the American startup ecosystem and tapping into diverse talent across the U.S.

Throughout the discussion, and with no surprise, former President Obama displayed an immense capacity to understand the 50,000-foot view and down in the weeds nuances of each entrepreneur’s business, asked relevant questions, made insightful connections between our companies, challenges and passions and shared his own set of experiences through the programs he has worked on.

Taking a step back, the whole experience has made me think even more about whether or not I’m being a catalyst for good in my own small circle of influence. I have been fortunate in my life to have a series of opportunities that come to so few, and yet these are opportunities that we all deserve.

Finally, to end on a personal note, there are not enough words to explain how fortunate I am to have met the Obamas. They are everything and more in-person compared to what you see on TV: funny, humble, approachable, wicked-smart, self-deprecating, and passionate about being forces of good in this world. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am forever grateful!