Anne Durrum Robinson

Anne Durrum Robinson * 1913 - 2005 Anne died on June 7, 2005. This blog has been set-up to share remembrances from her friends and colleagues arounbd the world. Please constibute a favorite story of Annie, an anecdote, a quote or how she touched you. Anyone may comment but if you wish to add your own entry, please send an e-mail to and I will add you to the blog team.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Riding Unicorns with Anne Durrum Robinson

How many of us who have chosen to pursue the career of education may sometimes ask ourselves if we have chosen wisely? Difficult students, servers crashing during technical training, projectors that fizzle and die, corporate cutbacks, struggling to gain respect for a profession that puts emphasis on collaboration in a work culture that values competition and the bottom line – may make use question our chosen profession.

Spend an hour with Anne and you regain that elation you feel when students gather around you after a class to discuss excitedly what they have learned. Or low performing 7th graders, reluctantly heaving pencils out of backpacks as if in slow-mo at the prospect of another assignment, now oblivious to the call of freedom of the bell because you have unleashed their creativity. Spend two hours with Anne, and you will feel like you have been to a training spa!

Anne loves to delve into finding out what helps people learn, but even more she loves to talk about what it is that inspires people to want to learn. Anne’s specialty is creative thinking and she believes any individual or team can achieve better results if they unleash their creativity – either teacher or student.

Anne tells a story of a young trainer from South Africa she met in an airport, who told her she always closed her classes with a poem. Please share said Anne – always eager to learn. The young woman shared:

To Be Creative
To be creative is to trap the wind
And tame it for the blowing of a kiss
To be creative is to net a star
And, with its shining, light a room like this.
To be creative is to snare the sun
And transform daybreak into a blazing morn.
To be creative is to mount a mule
And, riding, change it to a unicorn.

Anne wrote that poem.

Oh, and did I mention that Anne is 90 years old?

Anne has been a secretary, business manager, building manager, office manager, copywriter, broadcaster (radio and TV), and an actress – and always with creativity. She has received regional, national and international awards for poetry, plays, song lyrics and light-verse books, including the National Headliner Award from the National Association for Women in Communications - Barbara Walters won in 1993!

When Austin ASTD formed 30 years ago, Anne was just getting started. Anne says it took her 30 years to grow up, 30 years to grow out, and the last 30 years are a bonus! This is her time! Learn something new each year, says Anne and she does. Anne still plans to take piano, painting, and Spanish lessons. At an age when most people are looking to retire, Anne began a brand new career. She began her training career at 60 as a trainer and writer for the Texas Welfare Department. When she retired five years later, Anne decided to launch a second career as a creativity consultant.

Although now confined to a wheelchair, Anne she still teaches creativity and intuition – and when she does, that wheelchair becomes a unicorn.

"The human mind is a treasure," said Anne. And so is she. We are proud and honored that Anne is part of our chapter. May we all ride unicorns.

Lorna Reutner


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