Tuesday, August 29, 2006


My friend Sheila Chung got married on Sunday. Sheila and I met six years ago when we were in a jury pool and then on a jury together for a 5-week trial.

Sheila is the kind of person I would have hired without a second thought when I was running the Breakthrough Foundation. I wouldn’t have cared what she’d done before, where she’d gone to school, any of that. I would have wanted her to work with us because of her intelligence, her ability to communicate and her commitment to making the world a better place. We’d train her in the specific skills she’d need. She already had the most important qualities.

Sheila has a Korean father and an Argentine mother. For the past several years she has worked as the head of an immigrant rights organization. Over the years we saw each other every couple of months, usually for lunch. I coached her, mentored her, listened to her. She was doing well in all aspects of her life save one – she didn’t have a partner yet.

About a year ago she met Paul. When she talked about him it was clear that he satisfied both her Asian need for rationality and brains and her Latina need for passion. Paul was ‘the one’ for her, and it didn’t take long before they decided to get married.

Sheila did more than invite me to be a guest. She asked if I’d be a member of her wedding party. Turns out she wanted three women as bridesmaids and two guys as ‘others’ in her party. I was surprised and honored to be asked. She then asked if I would be willing to make one of the four toasts after the ceremony and dinner. Again, I was honored to be asked and pleased to accept.

The wedding was very well done. The civil ceremony melded various traditions together. There was tango dancing (a passion of Sheila’s), singing, dancing, and great food. But particularly impressive for me was the composition of the guests. It was the most authentically and naturally multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-racial group I’ve ever seen. Sheila and Paul’s friends and family perfectly represented them and their approach to life.

I’m not a big fan of occasions like weddings and other such celebrations, especially when I don’t know many of the people who are there. But this one was special. Memorable. Extraordinary. I was proud to be a part of it.


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