“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
My friend Iminza is a thirty-six year old single mom living with HIV. She received a paycheck for the first time in her life six months ago by making papyrus notebooks for our handicraft business in Kenya. I had worked closely with Iminza since she joined us, and had gotten to know her pretty well.

Just the other day though, Iminza took me by surprise as I watched her lightly scrawl her name in block letters onto her paycheck. I was stunned. After all, everyone at the studio knew Iminza couldn't read or write, and she was always being teased for signing her paychecks with her thumbprint. The mechanics over at the garage next door were even worse, whispering words about her HIV status as she passed by each morning on her way to work. Even some docs at the HIV clinic had written her off as a 'hopeless case.'

In the simple act of signing her name, however, we finally saw what Iminza had seen since the day she joined our studio: an opportunity to turn life around for herself and her children. Out of the fresh blue ink of Iminza's signature emerged a wholly unexpected moment of self-expression which reminded us joyfully that each opportunity also comes with a choice – the choice to quietly accept the status quo, or actively change it for the better.

I want to continue sharing these moments by creating opportunities which enable others like Iminza to shape their own paths. And as HBS provides me with the rare and privileged opportunity of choice, like Iminza, I hope I will define my own life with actions marked by bold and joyful choices unexpected.

— Peter Park