The Minow Trilogy
Yes, this requires a third Nell Minow-related posting. And who knows, there might be more down the line. She's quite the treasure trove. In fairness, though, this isn't precisely about her.
When I originally posted the article about Nell on the Huffington Post a couple years ago, there was one particular "reader comment" that leaped out. In the article, I offhandedly mentioned her husband David Apatoff (who I grew up with down the block, and described him briefly as "accomplished." I then continued on with the article. I didn't give it another thought.
But this one reader wrote what struck me as a fairly snarky, one-line question: "What has the 'accomplished' Washington lawyer accomplished?"
For those wondering the same thing, but in a much more thoughtful, mature way, this is what I wrote back --
"You ask your question in a surprisingly disbelieving way. Keep in mind that the point of the article was Nell Minow, so I didn’t go off into a tangent on others. Briefly, David Apatoff is a partner in the renowned Arnold & Porter law firm in Washington and co-chair of their intellectual property and technology group. He co-authored a six-volume work, The Government Contract Compliance Handbook, and is a past-Chair of the government contracts division of The Federal Bar Association. He lectures on government contract issues and has done legal analyses for the Packard Commission, the Defense Science Board, and the European Economic Community. In addition, he writes about illustration art and has been an art critic for many years. This only touches the surface. Anyone interested can find out much more by doing a simple search."
(What I wanted to add was, "So there." But I left it at that.)
By the way, there was another addendum that came from the original article. When I spoke with Nell after the article was posted (something she didn't know that I was going to write), she told me that her daughter Rachel said that her favorite line in the article was, "I've long suspected that the seven most terrifying words to a corporate executive are, 'I have Nell Minow on Line Two.'" I think it makes sense that someone's child would single that out.
Of course, as long as I've got this addendum in my hands and am discussing favorite quotes, I may as well end with my two favorites from Nell Minow. (And you'll see why I was even reminded of that.)
The first came when Nell was attending a company's stockholder's meeting, something that she did often as a corporate watchdog. When she stood up to ask a question, the CEO saw who it was and rolled his eyes before acknowledging her. Rather than being intimidated (you don't intimidate Nell Minow...), she immediately said back to him, "I raised two teenage children. Rolling your eyes at me has no impact."
And finally, this is my all-time favorite Nell Minow quote, which I've actually used myself when some situation has gotten particularly pissy. It's wonderfully multi-purpose and useful in just about any condition. This comes from her years as a parent, something she learned (and teaches) is surprisingly applicable in the business world, which is where the quote ultimately came from -- "Okay, someone in this room has to be The Adult, and I guess that has fallen to me."
And with that, we'll move on. For now...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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