Columnist Kelley Scarsbrook is on a mission to fulfill 40 goals before her 40th birthday in 2012. Here's the story of her latest adventure:
A couple of weeks ago, Sir Richard Branson arrived in Vancouver to announce Virgin Atlantic Airways' new flight service between Vancouver and London.
As he is on my "40 Under 40" list, I thought I would have to travel to meet him. However, as luck would have it, he came here.
Branson's schedule was tightly packed at several venues throughout his brief stay; however, one particular luncheon that intrigued me was hosted by Vancouver Board of Trade.
The event was moderated by Carole Taylor, Simon Fraser University chancellor and Vancouver Board of Trade governor.
When I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the vast number of people in attendance. I was guided to a desk where I was given a "flight" ticket to enter the luncheon. On my way to the room, I was greeted by two Virgin flight attendants, who stood out in their bright red uniforms.
As I entered the room, I quickly found a table off to the side. I could sense a great amount of excitement in the air. Despite the attire of many, who were dressed in business suits and expensive dresses, the buzz in the room was no different than being at a rock concert.
A salad was placed in front of me and as I anxiously poked at the lettuce, an announcement was made that 1,400 people were in attendance - the largest ever turnout for a Vancouver Board of Trade event.
It's no wonder, though: Sir Richard Branson is an incredible man. He is someone who has demonstrated that nothing is impossible in life.
As I have a love of social media, I followed the tweets people were sending about the event. I soon discovered that he was having lunch at a table near mine.
That's when I knew it was the perfect opportunity to speak with him.
When I approached him, he was with many business people at a table and engrossed in a conversation.
I waited and, when the time was right, I introduced myself and shook his hand.
We talked about the impact he is making in the world and how he has inspired so many people. He was very gracious and charming - and extremely easy to talk to.
When I returned to my seat, he was soon introduced on stage to discuss his accomplishments, both in his personal and professional life.
His talk was very Sir Richard Branson with Now columnist Kelley Scarsbrook in Vancouver. Locally, Branson will speak at the fifth annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit on Oct. 4. illuminating and it was amazing to hear about all the things he has accomplished - and things he still wants to do (like Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company).
He loves to find creative solutions where others may find obstacles. It's that line of thinking that built the Virgin Group's reputation for innovative and smart marketing initiatives.
For Branson, business isn't just about the paycheque. He believes in making a difference in other people's lives, which goes hand in hand with the philanthropic work he does, particularly in Africa.
He ended his talk by stating that because you only live once, you should live life to its fullest. It was something that really resonates with me, and meeting Branson was among the most memorable of my "40 Under 40" experiences.
Kelley Scarsbrook lives in Surrey and writes bi-weekly of her adventures. Visit Kelley's Top 40 Under 40 blog at kelleyscarsbrook.blogspot.com.
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