Beth's Music Lessons

Monday, February 8, 2010 | Margy's Blog & Updates



Dear Beth, 

We miss you already.

As others have written in the last few days (see here and here), you had a remarkable impact on labor market policy advocacy.  Your work is especially important because it’s so accessible to a broad audience. 

Of even more benefit – you’ve left so many of us with lessons in making time for the joy.

Our friend E.J. Dionne introduced us at one of his off-the-record, intimate “Friday lunches” at the Brookings Institution. I’d already read your book and the lunch was one of those thrilling DC-life moments for me – the chance to meet and talk with a person whose work I greatly admired.

Not only did you prove to be super smart, but also lovely and so NICE!!!  

Only later – when I’d left my job at Brookings – did I come to realize just how much you could offer to the struggling policy entrepreneur. Most important to my colleagues at The Mobility Agenda and me: you really truly understood and supported our effort to change the conversation about poverty and low-wage work. This support made such a difference to us --- especially when you agreed to moderate one of our most visible events: Lessons from the UK and US: Developing Goals for Economic Mobility, Social Inclusion, and Employment.

Your encouragement of the staff and friends of The Mobility Agenda meant so much to us. We loved having you join our planning sessions and we benefitted enormously from your strategic thinking about policy and politics.

We’ll always remember the encouragement and enthusiasm you offered so generously and so often.

But, my favorite memories are not those of our shared vision for the work.

No – instead I’m moved most by your suggestion to take time off to hear the music.

One week, you told me that we needed to hear the National Symphony on a Friday afternoon. So, on a gorgeous sunny day, we met for lunch outside the Kennedy Center and then went to listen to some glorious music.

You were so right – it was an important thing to do.

Beth, I want to do my best to honor both your commitment to the work and to taking the time for the music in life. Thank you for sharing these gifts with us all. Inspired by you and the difficult reminder that time is so precious, I will take an afternoon soon and often for music, dance, theatre, storytelling, galleries…joy.

Gratefully, your admirer, 

Margy Waller
Executive Director
The Mobility Agenda

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