Meg Pier is a brilliant writer who travels the world... Her blog shares her travels, insights, philosophy and those she meets. She is a phenomenal writer and photographer and I highly recommend subscribing to her blog. I live vicariously through her. Here is a post from http://www.viewfromthepier.com/. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Thank you Meg!
Lynn Pirozzoli, 55, is proprietor of the Black Horse Inn, an historic estate circa 1850 located in the rolling hills of Northern Virginia’s horse country. An equestrian from an early age, Lynn credits her love of the outdoors as the impetus for an initial career as one of the country’s first environmental scientists. Seeking to make change from the inside out, she pursued a career in the mining industry, where she designed and implemented ground-breaking programs in land reclamation. Her success led to the White House and a policy-making position with the Environmental Protection Agency. Returning to a corporate role, Lynn literally struck gold, a piece of good fortune that later enabled her to undertake a reclamation project of a more personal sort, transforming a run-down property into her dream home and a destination for those seeking a peaceful country respite.
That leap took courage—which Lynn has in abundance. From crossing miners’ picket lines to proposing a position for herself with the Department of the Interior—not to mention surviving a fire that consumed nearly two-thirds of her body–Lynn has dared to live a life of intention. Along the way, she married the proverbial “boy next door” when in her late forties, and today she shares their labor of love, the Black Horse Inn, with couples seeking the perfect setting for their vows. Lynn reminded me that life is short and we need to make time to honor our dreams and all that we consider important. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Lynn.
“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
~Charles R. Swindoll
Meg: I understand you have been a life-long equestrian. Tell me about how that passion began.
Lynn: The riding that I did as a youth served as the foundation for riding throughout my life. Wherever I was, I always rode horses. They have been a huge part of my life. They are my love; they provide me with a respite from the stress and strain of everyday life. To quote Winston Churchill, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
I was born and raised in Connecticut, with much influence from my Grandmother, who survived the Depression and my parents who gave me a strong work ethic. When I was 12 years old I started my first business, where I would clean houses after school. Many of the homes that I cleaned were nearby, but there were many that required “taxi” service by my mother in her Cadillac. My clients always had a good laugh when “the maid” would arrive in a Cadillac! Eventually I saved enough money to invest in the stock market. At age 12, I asked my father what might be a safe investment for my hard-earned money. He told me to invest in utilities, and I did, reaping the rewards of a safe, but steadily growing industry. I learned much about investing and finance from my father. With the profit, I was able to put the money toward my riding and my education, which gave me a terrific sense of responsibility.
My sisters and I started riding lessons at an early age. I was just seven years old. As we progressed and became more proficient riders, we asked my father if we could purchase our own horses and keep them on our property. After much pleading for many months, my very wise father gave us conditional consent, based on an economic analysis and yearly plan. This was the most important lesson that I ever learned in my entire career and I am forever grateful that my father taught us this very valuable lesson at an early age.
My sister and I had to develop a plan that would take into consideration all of the expenses of building a barn, fencing pastures and expenses for the feeding and care of the horses. He required that we meet with at least three contractors for bids on the barn. At ages 7 and 10 we interviewed contractors for the job, developing a blueprint for the facility and a plan to board horses for profit which would cover the costs of caring for our horses. We had to work on a presentation, which we performed in front of my mother and father. After careful consideration, we were finally granted approval, with the conditions that we were completely and totally responsible for the care and upkeep of the horses and the stables year-round.
Of course, the barn did not have running water, so that meant hauling water to the horses before school each morning and evening, even in the dead of winter! If our grades went below a “B” we would relinquish our right to own horses and keep them on property. My sister and I divided chores and made it work. We learned such valuable lessons from this, and if you think about it, some of the most important business dealings are based on the same requirements: gathering information, assembling it to appeal to the audience and presenting it in a favorable fashion. As a matter of fact, I am still presenting things in the same manner today. If you learn this lesson early on in life, it certainly can reap rewards that you never dreamed of throughout your life.
Meg: I believe you were an engineer in your first career—what prompted you to undertake that profession?
Lynn: I went to college at Colorado State University to get a degree in environmental science. My great love for the outdoors led me to a profession that would protect the environment. At that time, there were very few universities that offered curriculum–much less a degree–in environmental science. Colorado State University allowed me to put together a self-designed major and I graduated in 1978 with a degree in environmental science, with a strong background in range management and reclamation. I was one of the first environmental scientists in the nation!