happen. How you
respond is what
BY ERICA CHRISTOFFER
Some reinventions are by careful design, plotted as a detailed strategy to achieve
an objective. Others spring from a serendipitous encounter, a lightbulb moment
that causes a reimagining of goals. And occasionally, tragedy strikes, causing its
own protracted moment of truth: One response is to surrender to the despair and
disappear. Another is to recalibrate and rise up, focusing on a new reality that may be
unfamiliar and unplanned but is filled with possibilities that are no less wondrous.
Capt. Mark Kelly’s personal strength was surely tested many times as an astronaut
and naval aviator. But when his wife, Gabrielle Gi;ords, the former Congresswoman
from Arizona, was gunned down during a 2011 shooting spree outside a Tucson
supermarket, all the couple’s expectations and dreams shifted in an instant. Success
in business and life means navigating through cycles involving risk, resilience, and
reinvention as Kelly, the keynote speaker at this year’s REALTORS® Conference &
Expo, can surely attest. In our exclusive interview (page 24), Kelly shares insights about
his journey with Gi;ords back from the darkness.
A conference is a fine place to begin your own new journey, and there’s no better
symbol for reinvention than this year’s host city, New Orleans, whose spirit is
soaring nine years after Hurricane Katrina knocked it to its knees. We talk with other
conference speakers, community leaders who’ve played a role in the city’s resurgence.
Artist and urban planner Candy Chang uses public space to encourage creative
expression and engagement (page 26). Restaurateur and chef John Besh o;ers
microloans to struggling local farmers among a host of philanthropic ventures. He has
opened nine eateries in and around New Orleans since 2005 (page 27).
Finally, four-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee talks about her commitment to
inspiring youth in her hardscrabble hometown of East St. Louis, Ill. And we o;er you
a chance to inspire others and help them pick up their lives after a catastrophe—by
participating in this year’s REALTORS® Relief Foundation Auction (page 28).
REALTORMAG. REALTOR.ORG REALTOR® SEP TEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 23
The 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, in New Orleans, Nov. 7–10, will feature
more than 100 education sessions to motivate and inspire you. Read on for our
interviews with the conference headliners. Then turn to page 39 for a special 12-page
insert detailing the learning and fun that’s in store for conference attendees.