When she put on the vintage leather aviator’s cap and a pair of goggles, Barbara Lynch did not look like Rocky the Flying Squirrel. She looked shocked, moved, radiant and deserving. Today was her day, and she was flying high. She is the 25th recipient of the Amelia Earhart award, and this was one big deal.
Among the 1000 women filling the biggest ballroom in the city, was almost woman chef,owner, food fan (and a good dusting of good guys in the food industry like Chris Myers of Myers + Chang, and Ed McCabe of Cafco Construction, plus Mayor Tom Menino, and Ron Della Chiesa.) All came to cheer on chef-owner-superstar Barbara Lynch as she accepted the Amelia Earhart “Pioneer” award from the Crittenton Women’s Union. This is a big deal–an award named after the first woman aviator to fly across the Atlantic. And Ms. Lynch was profoundly moved by the comparison. On hand to cheer her on were Michela Larson, Jody Adams, Ana Sortun, Laura Brennan, Olivia English, Alison Arnett, Kerry Foley, Annie Copps, the Paolotta sisters –just to drop a few. We all learned a lot about Ms. Lynch today. We learned how her cooking teacher from high school home ec became her lifelong mentor, how she lied to get her first job as a chef on Martha’s Vineyard dinner cruise boat (wouldn’t anyone?), and took out stacks of books from library the night before she was supposed to start cooking to cram basic cooking terms and techniques. We also learned that she practiced her entrepreneurial skills as a bookie in high school. She says she took a few too many risks to consider bookmaking as a career, like forgetting to place the bets, and pocketing the cash instead. (PS: Really good for all concerned that she opted out of this particular career path.)
Crittenton Women’s Union is a direct service organization that helps low-income women transform their lives –through mentorship, education, support, and training. If there were ever a poster child for the success of a non-profit like CWU, it’s Barbara Lynch. To learn more about CWU, visit www.liveworkthrive.com
To follow the future exploits of Ms. Barbara Lynch, visit me here.