In the midst of business school applications, sometimes I simply forget that there are others who are making their way in the world. One of them is Gretchen Peters, an old friend who taught me what it was like to go out and do things nobody thought she could do.
I wrote about her a year or so ago when her book was published, and I thought it was worth reminding the world of why she is so cool. Here’s the what I said about her then, and it’s even truer today.
I recently found an article in the Wall Street Journal about the heroin trade, Afghanistan and the Taliban. Not an easy subject, I know. The thing is, the article reviewed a book called “Seeds of Terror” by Gretchen Peters, whom I knew very well when we were both working is Asia. She has been on Newshour, been interviewed by John Stewart on the Daily Show, and briefed members of Congress and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The greatest thing about the book — well written, informative — is the dedication to her two “near-perfect daughters.”
To “Isabella and Sophia,” she writes. “Never believe it isn’t possible.”
Gretchen is one of those women that just plain followed her heart. We met in the Euromoney Magazine offices in Hong Kong. I asked her to intern for me on a project there, and we became fast friends. When she moved to Phnom Penh to work for, and ultimately edit, the Cambodia Daily newspaper, I took advantage and visited several times, bringing her Twizzlers and other junk food which you couldn’t get in Cambodia.
She later ended up as ABC TV’s bureau chief in Pakistan, and while there, started research on her book about the Taliban.
When I saw her on the Daily Show, I felt like cheering. She was the same Gretchen I knew from our days hanging out in the Foreign Correspondents Club. To think now that her knowledge may help guide US and worldwide foreign policy on the Taliban. Wow.
I recently followed my heart to start my business as an MBA admissions consultant. I did it because I want to help people be more like Gretchen. To be able to change the world in their own special way. To be honest, I didn’t see her and say, “There’s a woman who can become a foreign policy expert on Afghanistan and the Taliban.” I just thought that she was smart, interesting and had a great sense of humor. But I knew she had something… and boy, look at her now.