Kami asks, "Who had a big influence on you and how did that affect the direction of your life or career?"
Like Ike, my Fourth Grade teacher was a huge influence (more positive than Ike's teacher, though). At the time I despised Mrs. Perkins. If I did not look at her when answering a question, I had to parade around the school with a large 'Eye Contact' sign around my neck. That aside, Mrs. Perkins introduced us to C.S. Lewis and Shakespeare. Our class hosted several plays and overcame public speaking fear.
I did not enter college thinking my career would be in public relations. My goal was to become a museum curator in Europe specializing in Medieval and Renaissance history. Then I took a communications elective with Dr. Terry Clark. My life path changed in one semester. I found a piece of my life puzzle.
Eight years later I find most of my mentors are virtual. As stated several times, Kami Huyse is the first person I conversed with two years ago in the Blogosphere. Her passion and knowledge has spurred me to set my bar higher. Despite her hectic schedule, Kami will pick up the phone and respond to email.
Then there is David; my former, eccentric boss. He called me (still does) "runt" because I was the smallest and feistiest in the company. I was completely off path and he was my beacon of light, illuminating a new and smoother path. Today, Dave is in Iraq as a volunteer.
I hope that I convey my thanks more than once a year to those mentioned above and the many fascinating people/teachers I meet/converse with each day. Thank you.
UPDATE: Forgot to tag! Karen, you are a fellow teacher, who influences you?