Wide Awake: Well Said
You can learn so much if you just ask
By Marianne Aleardi

Last month, I wrote about how many times I’ve heard a woman I’m interviewing say something really meaningful – something that just stayed with me for days. And of course, that holds true for the men I’ve interviewed.

This may sound cliché, but I’m honored when I can ask someone a question and then just listen
to what they have to say. You learn so much when you do that. Sometimes, another person’s thoughts change you and make your life better. You just have to listen.

“I feel like I learned a lesson in love that some would never appreciate.” – Dave Spadaro
I repeated that sentence to many people after Dave said it at one of our roundtables. He was talking about being a caregiver for his mother from the time he was 15 until 20, when she died. He went into detail about the many, many things he did for her as a teenager and the sacrifices he made at a very young age. Just when I expected him to say how hard it made his life, he spoke of love.

“I was in a meeting with men and women, and one of the gentlemen made a comment that didn’t feel right to me. I pulled him aside and said, ‘Look, that was inappropriate.’” – Rob Curley
Rob is the Regional President at TD Bank, and he made this comment at our Women’s Empowerment Series. It was so important that he said this (even more important that he actually did it) because not much will be done for women’s equality if men don’t start speaking up.

“The drug manufacturers were aware of the fact that opioids have super-addictive qualities…and as a result, thousands and thousands of people died, families were ruined, and people became addicted. The lawsuit is about trying to recover from those drug companies funds that will help us do everything we’re talking about here today. They helped create the problem – they should be part of the solution.” – Louis Cappelli Jr.
Camden County Commissioner Director Lou Cappelli said this at our roundtable discussing the opioid epidemic. It was 2018, and the concept of pharmaceutical companies being held responsible for their role in the epidemic was unprecedented. Yet here we are today, and New Jersey will receive $641 million in a lawsuit settlement against Johnson & Johnson and 3 opioid distributors.

“People use my birth name, and it hurts.” – Ryland DiPilla
During our LGBTQ+ Health roundtable, Ryland DiPilla talked about his life as a transgender person. Ryland shared thoughts that were very personal, and I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do. But when he said this, I realized that things we may say because we just aren’t taking the time to do better – even the simplest of things – may hurt someone. It made me realize I should be paying more attention.

“If we can pull motivation from the worst things that happen to us, and find a way to come out, it’s going to make the world a better place.” – Jon Dorenbos
I asked former Eagle Jon Dorenbos if he would record a video interview with me in April 2020, when quarantine was pretty new. Jon is a super positive guy, and that was exactly what we all needed. He said this sentence after talking about when he was 12, and his dad killed his mom. He has lived that sentence, and he was encouraging us all to do the same. It’s not the easiest thing to do – which I told him – but he said we should find a way.

“I don’t think I seek happiness. I don’t think I seek joy. I seek to participate in the human experience.” – Maurice Cairoli, MD
This is my all-time favorite quote – said by a man or woman. Dr. Cairoli is an oncologist, and I had just asked a roundtable of cancer specialists how they stayed happy considering the intensity of their work. I believed all of us wanted to feel happy as often as we could, so I was expecting to hear about spa days or their deep understanding of the fragility of life. But Dr. Cairoli presented me with a completely new idea, and his quote made me suddenly see the world differently. When you shift from seeking joy to seeking the human experience, everything changes. I’m holding on to that.

June 2022
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