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In honor: My brief encounter with Mandela lasted a lifetime

I have met many “famous” people but none that have touched me like Mandela.

It was just a fleeting moment really — I was with a key group that had traveled to South Africa.   Since I was supporting a very important person from the US that was scheduled to meet with Mandela, I was told to stay in the background during the meeting.  I was allowed to go into the room to learn and listen.

But I was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t let me stay in the background but shook my hand and asked me some questions!  His smile and demeanor made you feel like you mattered.

In that short instance, I realized what greatness really meant.  Making everyone feel like they matter, listening, and leading.

He touched my life in 5 minutes or less.  Whose life have you touched?   Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

You can make a difference!   Do the impossible!


  1. WomensToolbox (@WomensToolbox)

    WOW – what an honor that must have been Sandy. The “famous” person that make a huge impact on me was Dr. Helene Gayle from the CARE organization. I was honored to interview her for a radio show I did hear in Boston a few years back – and still today her answer to the question I asked her is something I think of every day. Not the exact quote or question but…I asked her is there was no barrier to time, space or money, what would she want to do to change the world, her response was she would like to bring a woman from Africa to the US and have her trade places with a woman here – so they both would understand that we are in fact more the same than we are different. Powerful words that still stay with me today!

  2. WomensToolbox (@WomensToolbox)

    sorry for the typos – I meant made and here – not make and hear

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