On July 9, 2021 our speaker was Preeta Bansal with the presentation titled "From the Supreme Court to the White House to a Light House: Demystifying Power".
Preeta reviewed some of her background and experiences - review her BIO below. She indicated that she rarely went seeking a change in her career or affiliations with organizations - somehow they found her. It has been a journey - an adventure. 
She told us about Julio.
As Julio was getting off the subway one winter night, he was attacked and mugged. He gave the mugger his wallet, and noticed that it was a very young man - a boy.
As the boy started running away, Julio called "hey, you forgot to take my coat". The boy stopped, turned around and looked at him with questioning eyes. Julio explained that since he would need it if he was robbing people on this very cold night. The boy continued to stare.
Julio then offered to take the boy to dinner. Since Julio was planning to go to a nearby diner he asked if the boy would join him. He agreed.
While they were sharing a meal, they shared conversation. Julio's unusual actions took the power away from the mugger and put it in Julio's hands. Julio listed to the boy and treated him with respect.
At the close, Julio said "well, I would like to buy your dinner, but you have my wallet" to which the boy returned his wallet.
This was true power - he was able to turn this boy around.
Preeta mentioned that she thought of Julio often as she went through her experiences. She wondered what it takes to be totally present to have this type of power.
Throughout her experiences, Preeta has worked with all types of organizations, at all levels. The one thing that she believes is constant is that change comes from within. Change happens from small to large. She believes that change in our Country will come from within - come from the heart - and here we are in the heartland.
As she moved through her life's journey she found herself changing how she approached activities. She started thinking she needed to take a hammer to everything. but her methods evolved.
She got interested in persuasion - let's not beat people up let's persuade them. That is when she got interested in politics. She was approached about doing a fundraiser for Obama when he was a Senate candidate. She did not think it was a big event as he was not a front runner at the time. But, she was nervous about how her initial involvement in politics would go. All went well, she ended up working with many aspects of the president's transition team.
There were a number of challenges facing the transition team and the white house staff. The financial world was collapsing and they were trying to prepare for anything that might happen. What if the banks failed - would the government buy them out?
Businesses were crumbling overnight. When we used to get news from papers and TV, we were now using social media. Instead of going to book stores we were downloading books. We shifted much of our shopping from in-store to online. Even transportation modes changed with the introduction of ride share.
At the core of the planning team was anticipating and preparing - keeping command of the situation. Preeta was reminded of Julio.
She talked about how our relationships have changed.
At one time we may be one person talking to 50 (Sarnoff model). That changed to 50 talking to 50 (Metclf model) which means we are connected to 1225. And then a seemingly unlimited reach (Reed model) that calculated out to 1,125,899,906,842,573.
What about the level of our ties with those people? Where we have strong ties we are within a smaller network that we hope to develop and it requires an investment of time. We have weak ties with those in larger networks mostly sharing information. These ties define the strength of our social bonds.
Preeta brought us back to Julio who formed a strong social bond in a one-to-one connection. 



Preeta Bansal has spent more than 30 years in senior roles in government, global business, law and academia. In the public sector, she has served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the Executive Office of the U.S. President (White House) and as Solicitor General of the State of New York, where she helped lead 600 attorneys in the New York Attorney General’s Office and argued on behalf of the State of New York in the United States Supreme Court and other top appeals courts. She led the legal/regulatory personnel team for the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition in 2008. In the private sector, she was a partner and practice chair at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP in New York City, and global general counsel in London for HSBC Holdings PLC, one of the world’s largest banks. While practicing law at Skadden, she served as a Commissioner and Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan federal human rights agency. In that capacity, she was a US diplomat and advised on the drafting of the Afghan and Iraqi constitutions, and worked with faith leaders, civil society groups, and government officials in a range of countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. From 2015-2016, she served by appointment of the President of the United States as a member and committee chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, focusing on poverty and inequality in America.

After a long career scaling the heights of external and institutional power, Preeta has spent the last 8+ years more deeply plumbing depths of being for the source of – and ancient tools for accessing – internal power, as well as studying network science, quantum physics, and the role of emerging technologies in amplifying small shifts in behavior and consciousness. As a lecturer at MIT, she has taught on topics related to reclaiming human wisdom and authentic power in an age of artificial intelligence, exponential technology, and disrupted social and governance institutions.

Preeta Bansal is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an independent corporate director of Nelnet, Inc. (NYSE: NNI). She graduated from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and Harvard-Radcliffe College, magna cum laude, where she served as Supervising Editor of the Harvard Law Review. She is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (1990-1991). The first South Asian American to argue a case in the U.S. Supreme Court, she has been profiled by The New York Times as a “poised and playful” “superstar” and a “nimble, unorthodox thinker.” The New York Law Journal referred to her as “one of the most gifted lawyers of her generation, who combines a brilliant analytical mind with solid, mature judgment.” She received the National Organization of Women’s “Woman of Power and Influence Award” in 2006 and was named one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal in 2008.

Preeta Bansal is a Lincoln, Nebraska native (and returned resident). She attended K-12 in the Lincoln Public Schools and graduated from East High School. Currently, she is Chair of the Board of Civic Nebraska; on the Advisory Board of both the Raikes School an the Johnny Carson Center for the Emerging Media Arts at the University of Nebraska; board member of the Lincoln Community Foundation; Trustee of the Community Health Endowment; on the UNMC Chancellor's Board of Counselors; and a member of the President’s Council of the global United Religions Initiative. She is also a global anchor for ServiceSpace, a volunteer community building a global interfaith, intercultural social movement for nonviolence and love. She is an honorary board member of the Interfaith Center of New York City, and an advisory board member of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University Previously, she has served on numerous nonprofit boards including as a commissioner on New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s bipartisan Election Modernization Task Force, and as a Board Member of the New York City Bar, Human Rights Watch, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.