A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.
I first connected to People to People when I received an invitation to one of their meetings. I remember my mom knocking on my door and then opening it with a crisp envelope placed in her hand, the top ripped open already.
"Whatcha got there?" I asked, confused. Why would she walk in here if she was only reading the mail?
"I want you to look at this, Kimberly, and tell me what you think," she says before quickly adding, "I was going to throw it away but when I saw the countries you would be going to, I just had to show you. Trust me."
What on Earth was she talking about? I thought. Handing me the letter, she takes a seat next to me and watches as I pull the letter out of the yellow envelope and begin to read.
"No way," I gasp. They wanted me to travel with them? And to my all-time favorite countries? "This isn't a prank, is it?" I question immediately. I had always talked about traveling to the United Kingdom and Ireland, but I never thought I would get an opportunity to actually achieve my dream.
"No, it isn't, and I'm totally up for you going. Maybe I won't have to hear you talk about these places anymore," my mother teased. Oh how she was so wrong. And from there, my adventure began. I attended all the meetings and as time quickly passed, I grew more anxious to get my traveling started. Months of excitement coursed through my veins when I arrived at the Metropolitan Airport on June 24, 2015. My family wished me farewells and I was then sent into my 19 day journey into a whole new world.
I must say, this trip couldn't have impacted me more. Before, I was mostly quiet and let everybody else do the talking, but I noticed the longer the trip went on, the more outgoing I became. It really opened my eyes to a whole new culture and I fell in love with it; just ask my mom. I became more mature and it made me more active in my on-going community. It made me want to participate more. I wanted to help others, and I achieved a better understanding of other people. I couldn't have asked for a better experience and if I was asked, I would definitely do it all over again.
I also met some really cool people through my chapter. From my chapter, I met this wonderful girl named Reahgan, and she was my go-to on this trip. Whatever friends she made, I made and vise versa. We're so much alike and we never would have met each other if it wasn't for this organization. To this day, we still talk and send each other Pringle photos, which is one of many inside jokes we formed together. Just recently, we were talking about our trip and all the memories we made, and all the people we shared them with. It's truly incredible, and I'm so in love with it.
Overall, my experience with PTPI was extraordinary and now I want to travel to other places of the world. Who knows, maybe PTPI will take me there, or maybe I'll take myself there. Either way, it has changed me into a better, more responsible person, and for that, I am grateful.
We have 23,700 members around the world, and each has a story to tell. Discover the drives, dreams and ambitions of our PTPI network members, and then share your story with us. It’s how we break down barriers to peace and understanding.
Thank you for your ongoing support for our mission at People to People International. We, as a whole, continue to strive to live up to the legacy of world peace. But every day we make a choice to make a difference. That difference cannot be made without you and your contributions. Only together can we create everlasting peace and only together can we strive for and achieve greatness.
Merrill Eisenhower Atwater joined People to People International as the Chief Operating Officer in January 2018 and in April of that same year, he became Chief Executive Officer.