When asked to write about Jennifer Foster, I knew it would be easy enough to list her accomplishments.
A natural leader, she always has her hands in something transformative. She co-founded the Human Rights Campaign community in Central Florida, served on the statewide board of the Florida Red and Blue Campaign and co-founded One Orlando Alliance. But her accomplishments (which are impressive) are not why I think she’s remarkable. A great poet summed it up best: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” For Jennifer, let me add: and how they changed you.
Jennifer and I have worked together these past two years constructing the nuts and bolts of what is now One Orlando Alliance. I am not surprised that, with her leadership, the Alliance is thriving, already a dynamic and integral part of the Central Florida community. No, there is nothing shocking in discovering that a talented woman can change the world. What surprised me is how she changed me, how I have learned that I have to do better. That inclusiveness is not just a word on a page, or a goal in a political campaign. It is something that must be part of our essential being, intertwined into who we are. I learned this, not because Jennifer preached it, but because she lives it.
Every decision she makes reveals her deep commitment to equality, inclusivity and compassion, and those around her cannot help but soak it up and become better just for having known her. Our community—indeed our nation—has some serious obstacles ahead of us. I think we can all learn from Jennifer as we go forward on how we are going to meet those challenges.