Malones 1 © 2012 Sam. All rights reserved.

A room full of greatness…and my heart is full again

Turning 50 would not be complete without a celebration among my students and alumni from SFU. These people have defined me over the last 8 years and the appreciation I have for them is very significant. When I found out that Gurjeet is turning 25 (half life to me!) on June 28th, we decided to do an event called the ‘Sam and G’s 50th and 25th Non-Crises Birthday.’ The even was not about coming out to honour us but rather an opportunity for us to appreciate the company of the people who mean a lot to us. We also decided to donate our birthdays to Education Generation – an organization created to provide scholarships to students in developing countries who can not afford to go school. The organization was in association to Global Agents for Change. Both of these initiatives stemmed from our business school and both have been recognized by the UN. You should check them both out. Global Agents – and Education Generation –

So the venue was Malones and the date set was July 4th. Through social media and word of mouth, the RSVP’s started to accumulate. Now on any given alumni social, we have had about 30-40 people come out. This time, the number was going to be about 100. I got to the venue and it was dark and empty. It was close to the start time and you wonder if people will show up. There was a lot of chatter on social media and you know it is not a problem; but that little voice says: “what if people decided to change their plans”. So after 5 minutes, Sasha showed up and then shortly after that, another and then another. Pretty soon, it was a stream of people. At one point, we took over half of the establishment. Some people came and hung around and others showed up for a couple of minutes to say hello and had to take off.

What I always appreciate about an event like this is that I watch people meet each other. Some times they have not seen each other in years and the sheer pleasure of catching up…or people who do not know each other and find interesting conversation and a new friendship is forged. My fear is that with social media, we are loosing that one on one or face to face connection that is so critical. You can not base a relationship solely on Facebook or Twitter. Rachel is a very near and dear friend and even though she lives in Vancouver, we still write letters to each other. She has labeled me as a connector/maven ? I am ok with this. I also want to provide a special shout out to Beverley. She was with me during the day up at SFU and then drove me downtown to the event and then stayed at the event for a long time. She is someone who I have gotten to know over the last 18 or so years and I respect and admire. I also want to give a shout out to Julia, Jevta and Sasha from Education Generation who helped us with the scholarship side.

So the aftermath of this celebration? We helped to raise enough to support two scholarships for student through EdGen, we got a very large gathering of people who appreciated each other, I got to share the company of many people who I admire and respect, there was this unbelievable level of greatness in the room, and G and I did get to share our birthdays with many we care about. My only regret…I just did not get the time to do proper catch ups with people. OK, can I now fold up the celebration tent now???


  1. G

    Sam, you worry too much. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves you. Why? Because you give and give and give. Even when there’s nothing left, you give some more! You’ve put so much time and energy into everyone around you, it’s impossible for us to not want to give back to you what you’ve given us (hope, advice, love, etc), tenfold even!

    The celebration tent will never go away!

    PS. I’m so honoured to be mentioned/featured in your blog for the third time. I was wondering how to even make it once ^_^

    • Sam

      There is much appreciation G. I would like to put the celebration tent away so I can work on other adventures this year :-) Yes, three mentions already and we are just over half a year :-)