Texans I’d Like to Meet: Business and Pleasure
By: Piper Meeks, Contributor
You can’t enjoy work without having a little bit of fun, but you can’t have fun without doing a little bit of work. This week I’ve focused on two Texans that represent both aspects of business and pleasure.
Robert Earl Keen
Robert Earl Keen is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Houston, Texas. His music appeals to a wide variety of music lovers because it fits into a broad range of genres, including Texas Country, Alternative Country, Folk, Americana and Country Rock. Keen currently resides with his family in Kerrville, Texas, less than an hour away from his ranch in Medina, Texas, where many of his greatest songs were written.
Although he was always interested in music and writing, Keen did not begin to play guitar or write music until his college years at Texas A&M University. In 1974 he became good friends with his neighbor, Lyle Lovett. The two performed in their underwear together on Keen’s front porch for the church goers across the street (according to his song lyrics) throughout his college years, which served as inspiration for their song “The Front Porch Song”. After graduating from college in 1980, Keen moved to Austin and began performing in nightclubs and live music venues. In 1986 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee but returned back to Texas in 1988 because he was unwilling to conform to the new country sound and consequently unable to land a recording contract. He released his national debut album in 1989, but his 1993 release, A Bigger Piece of the Sky, gained much more acclaim from the public. Keen has continued to write, perform, record and tour across the United States. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him perform at Gruene Hall (for those that aren’t familiar, Gruene Hall is Texas’ oldest dance hall located near New Braunfels, Texas) and couldn’t have wished for a better time.
Keen’s charm is essentially rooted in his ability to write hypnotizing stories that are both realistic and relatable to his fans; he writes of love, family, friends, hardships and good times. His music has a feel-good quality ideal for road trips across Texas – it will make you want to roll your windows down and enjoy the scenery we all too often overlook, all while soaking up the Texas sun. Robert Earl Keen’s music is Texicana at its finest; his pride for his state and his reluctance to change his musical style in order to fit in to the newer, mainstream country genre makes him one Texan I would absolutely love to meet.
Carly Fiorina was born in Austin, Texas and is most notably known for her title as the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. She served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005 and has been named Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman in Business for six consecutive years. Under Fiorina’s leadership, Hewlett-Packard generated 11 patents a day, doubling revenues to $88 Billion. What a woman!
Fiorina’s extensive list of leadership positions includes titles such as Co-Chair of both the United States Leadership in Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as well as the Leadership Council of Initiative for Global Development. She is a founder of the African Leadership Academy and the One Woman Initiative. She has served on the Defense Business Board and as Chairman of both the CIA’s External Advisory Board and the Advisory Group for Transformational Diplomacy for the Department of the State. She is a member of the Boards of Kellogg Company, Cisco Systems, Merck and Taiwan Semiconductor, among many others. These are just some of Fiorina’s leadership activities; listing them all would give me enough material to write a novel – most likely a boring novel at that. However, her most admirable role, in my opinion, is that of a cancer survivor who acts as a Global Envoy for Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG organization.
Fiorina played a role in Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign and even addressed the Republican National Convention in 2008. As someone who is often in the public eye, she inevitably faced some criticism. However, her ability to endure despite this criticism is what makes her so excellent. Carly Fiorina has been faced with everything from political opposition to breast cancer, yet she continues to persevere – and this is exactly why I want to meet her.