I arrived to the White House this morning shortly after 10:30. The security guard motioned for me to wait at the gate and then asked through the intercom, “Do you have an appointment?” I paused for a second and then replied, “Yes, I do.” I couldn’t believe that I had actually been invited to the White House to hear the President deliver remarks on the economy. It was such an honor when the White House included me in its interactive timeline earlier this year. I didn’t expect to hear from them again and I never thought I would be invited inside the White House.
One year ago to the day, I left my job as an associate at a prestigious law firm to pursue my passion for business and baking. I left a secure, high-paying job in the middle of a recession to become an entrepreneur. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences over the past year, but today’s invitation to the White House definitely takes the cake (pop).
I passed through the first security checkpoint and made my way up the steps to the White House entrance. The people around me seemed calm and relaxed. Maybe they were regular visitors. The only time I’d ever been in the White House before today was for the public White House tour. Today was different. I was going through a side entrance. I had an appointment.
As I waited to pass through the second security checkpoint, my heart started racing. I couldn’t believe I was inside the White House, under the same roof as the President of the United States.
After I passed through the second security checkpoint, I made my way down the hall and down a set of stairs to the ground floor. I walked down another hall and outside until I reached the South Court Auditorium. When I walked in, there were cameras lined up along the back wall. To the right was the podium where the President would be speaking in just a short while.
The President was supposed to begin speaking at 11:35, but he didn’t arrive until around noon. I was afraid he might be a no-show, but the camera crews weren’t packing up, so I figured he was still coming. He was probably just running a little late. I mean, he’s a pretty busy man, running a country and all. If I’m always running 15 minutes late as the owner of a small bakery business, it’s understandable that the leader of the free world would be running half an hour behind schedule.
I took advantage of the delay to get a quick picture by the podium. The extra time also gave me a chance to chat with the woman sitting next to me, a fellow entrepreneur who owns an IT company. Dolly had a ton of great ideas for my business and how to get new customers. I’ve had a lot of conversations with many different people about how to generate new business, but having this chat in the White House was positively invigorating. I wish I could have all of my brainstorming sessions there.
“The President will be arriving in 2 minutes” said a man over the intercom. My heart skipped a beat. Two minutes until I’m in the same room as the President of the United States. And then he walked in.
To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to what the President actually said. I figured I could watch his speech later. I wanted to soak up the experience. The room was full of energy and enthusiasm. And there was the President of the United States, right in front of me. I was surprised that people in the audience were snapping photos of the President while he was speaking, but as the saying goes, when in Rome… So, I took a picture on my camera phone and then put my phone away. The President seemed so calm and relaxed. It felt as though there were just a few of us in the room, having a casual conversation.
The President spoke for about 20 minutes, shook some hands, and was on his way to continue running our great nation. As for me, I left feeling energized, excited, and eager to ramp things up at Baked by Yael. I’m ready to get my first storefront, hire a big staff, and help the President create jobs and strengthen our economy. Today’s adventure also stirred up some of my childhood fantasies about becoming President. Krigman 2020?