Happy 100th birthday to I.M. Pei, architect of the Dallas skyline

The world-renowned architect I.M. Pei turns 100 years old on Wednesday. For those of you Dallasites who may be unfamiliar with his name, I guarantee you are familiar with his work. Pei’s architectural feats adorn our wonderful city of Dallas.

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I.M. Pei during the Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala at Morton Symphony Center

It is quite remarkable to witness Pei’s fingerprints all over the Dallas skyline. He designed Dallas City Hall (1977), One Dallas Center (1979), Energy Plaza (1983), Fountain Place (1986), and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (1989).

I don’t believe it was a coincidence that our city chose the chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts to design Dallas City Hall.

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Why Founder and CEO Andrew Yang Launched Venture For America In Detroit

“I got every ingredient, all I need is the courage / Like I already got the beat, all I need is the words / Got the urge, suddenly it’s a surge / Suddenly a new burst of energy has occurred.”—Eminem

This month, I had the opportunity to review Generation Startup, a documentary that

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Andrew Yang, VFA Founder and CEO

celebrates risk-taking, urban revitalization, and diversity, while delivering a vital call-to-action—with entrepreneurship at a record low, the country’s economic future is at stake. 

This inspiring film, available on Netflix, follows six recent college graduates who became Venture for America Fellows and moved to Detroit to help build startups.

Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America (VFA). He has been selected by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and a Champion of Change for his inspiring, impactful work in our communities. As a serial entrepreneur, Yang has developed amazing workplace cultures through such strategies as continuous improvement, throwing “convocations,” and acting as an “Asian Santa Claus.” As VFA’s CEO, Yang is uber committed to mentoring, developing, and counseling our country’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

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As Goes Texas, So Goes America

Adlene Harrison, First Woman Mayor of Dallas

This month, I had the opportunity to hear Adlene Harrison, 93, the first woman mayor of Dallas, speak about her historically progressive career juxtaposed with our current political climate.

Architect James Pratt with former Dallas Mayor Adlene Harrison at the presentation of his collection to SMU.  (www.smu.edu/news/2014/pratt-collection-dedication-18sept2014)

In 1977, following her tenure as mayor, Harrison was appointed as one of the first woman Environmental Protection Agency regional directors, in charge of the EPA’s anti-pollution efforts in five southwestern states. She held this position until 1981, when she became chair of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority Board (DART), as highlighted by the Jewish Women’s archive.

Harrison’s stories to the audience only backed up her reputation for being a smart, determined, and strong woman who doesn’t back down from a good fight. She recalled fights with the Carter administrationregarding their oil pipeline plans and recalled her learning experiences from lobbying, advocating, and pitching to the public the idea of DART, the North Texas mass-transit-rail system.

She talked about how hard one needs to fight for the greater good when the field is tilted in favor of special interests. She recalled the many projects in which she needed agreement from both sides of the aisle. She even received glowing recommendations from GOP peers to stay on during the Ronald Reagan administration, but the newly elected President Reagan had quite a different strategy for the EPA specifically and regulations in general.

Harrison’s Warning

When she was recalling the past, Harrison was quite charismatic and joyful. But when it came to talking about the present, she had a stern warning for us in the audience. Harrison expressed her fears that we as a society have become complacent. But even worse, we have become more self-absorbed and self-interested than ever. She warned that without active civil engagement by common citizens, special interests will write the rules for our future.

At 93, Harrison has never been as fearful as she is today for our democracy. She warned that the prevalent attitudes and the business-as-usual culture will lead us down a dark path of more inequality, segregation, and climate change. She worries that rising inequality is causing seismic cracks in our society’s foundation.

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