On October 25, 2018, at City Year’s annual Starry Starry Night Gala at Levi’s Stadium, City Year San José/Silicon Valley honored Metta and Keith Krach with the 2018 City Year Citizen Leadership Award.
The gala brought together more than 400 Bay Area business and community leaders to hear stories of impact from some of City Year San José/Silicon Valley’s AmeriCorps members, who serve full-time in schools as tutors, mentors and role models, preparing students with the skills and mindsets to succeed in school and in life.
The event also celebrated the champions and supporters who make this work possible—including Metta and Keith Krach, who are the first couple to be receive City Year San José/Silicon Valley’s Citizen Leadership Award for their inspirational commitment to the community.
I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to City Year. Honoring us is really honoring our family, friends and community. I look out at this room and I see so many friends who are profoundly generous with your time, talent and resources. I have witnessed your leadership in board meetings together, admired you as you spearheaded major initiatives that transformed the future of organizations, and watched as you held the hands of the poor, sick, and elderly, sharing your goodness, compassion and love through human touch and affirmation.
I am so happy to see you here tonight in support of City Year and their 30 years of touching the hearts and minds of so many young people and changing the course of lives, schools and communities. I remember being stunned when I first attended this event and learned that over 20,000 AmeriCorps members had completed more than 50 million hours of service within City Year. Those numbers are staggering, but what is even more amazing is to quietly watch City Year Corps members in action with the students and teachers they serve, making a meaningful difference one person at a time as a stable, loving, fun, educational, and inspirational force in their lives.
That model of hands-on service is what made us fall in love with City Year, and it’s also what made me fall in love with my husband. When we first met, he spoke so beautifully about his dreams for his three older kids, Monika, Steve & Carter, who now sit with us tonight as incredible adults with careers and causes of their own. But, at the time, they were young and Keith would tell me stories of how he would take them around the world on family service trips giving micro loans in 3rd world and developing nations to fund schools and businesses in hopes of transforming communities one person at a time.
This concept that one person can make a difference is the founding conviction of City Year and the basis for the work it does in the most high-need schools and communities that are facing dire economic, social and personal safety realities. But through the courage, heart and dedication of Michael Brown and the City Year Corps, they are making a meaningful and measurable difference for so many and we are honored to be part of the City Year Family. I hope a decade from now my big-hearted 7-year-old twins will be sitting in this audience, proudly wearing their yellow City Year jackets, serving our nation as among our best and brightest, putting into action the values and aspirations of our family and this great community.
So, to you all, thank you for being here to celebrate 30 years of City Year with us and recognizing City Year for all they are doing to make this world a better and more compassionate place. I will treasure this jacket and what I have learned it represents: “a little bit of magic, that brings hope and inspiration, caring and support, and the pledge that help is on its way.”
To be recognized as a couple tonight makes this the most special honor. Metta, I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful and loving wife, mother, daughter and sister to her enormous family, and friend to so many. Her name, Metta, in Thai just coincidentally happens to mean “loving kindness,” which is the perfect description of her.
At the same time, I pity the person who mistakes her kindness for weakness. As a Georgetown-trained lawyer, she protects me form any evil forces in the world with her superb judgement, keen mind, and beautiful writing ability. She is both loving & kind as her name proclaims, but she is no one’s doormat.
You can see Metta’s character and service in the work and causes she dedicates herself to and also in the friends she chooses to have in her life— all very committed, kind and generous, like Metta.
She and I make a solid team and I’m touched that City Year wanted to honor the concept that service and giving are a team effort, because it truly is in every way. Metta has a genuine love for helping children, the elderly, and the role of the arts in elevating the spirit of our world, which is paired with my passion for leadership, mentoring, micro loans, and rebuilding in devastated and impoverished areas.
We have a shared passion for supporting all causes related to education and both have been touched deeply by losing loved ones to cancer and have a shared desire to help fight that dreadful disease. We also share a sense of pride and joy in establishing the DocuSign Impact Foundation whose mission is to transform lives by transforming noble causes.
We share a common vision of the world and a deep need to try to help where we can to make a difference— a small difference, a big difference, but most importantly a meaningful difference. This is how we want to raise our children, with a deep spirit of generosity and gratitude.
What also makes this night so special is the last 4 year’s incredible honorees. John Chambers, Bill McDermott, John Thomson and Shantanu Narayan – who have been great friends and are truly transformational leaders.
And finally, and most of all, what makes this recognition so truly special for us is what Michael Brown epitomizes and what the noble cause of City Year stands for.
Michael, you are shining example of transformational leadership. Because the definition of a transformational leader is one who challenges the status quo by mobilizing and empowering people to achieve a noble cause that will have a profound and far reaching impact. You have modeled the way and your genius creation of City Year models the way for future transformational leaders through mentorship. Because you know Transformational Leadership is as much about transforming the person as it is about transforming the world and Mentorship is the most effective way to learn how to become a transformational leader.
What Metta and I love is that…
Transformational leadership is for anyone with an honorable mission who wants to make a significant impact. Because everyone has a noble cause burning within them.
And especially, given the global mounting challenges, the world needs everyone to lead in a transformational way and we need more transformational leaders than ever before.
For all you young future transformational leaders…
Just think of some of the factors that are shaping our world today and what we need as a society.
The rate of change is accelerating – we need principled leaders to help make sure the NEW world is a BETTER world for ALL.
Problems are more complex and interconnected – we need leaders who can envision solutions to tough new challenges.
Moral principles and democracy are under threat – we need honorable leaders to champion and defend these ideals.
We have become a fractional and divided nation – we need leaders – who can inspire and unify.
My dream is that you will be the first generation that is colorblind, gender blind and any difference blind, and you will truly understand that different temperaments, talents and convictions, and diversity of thought, is the catalyst for genius and the secret sauce for transformational leadership and transforming our world.