Sailing to fight blindness



August 20, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

It was the kind of day sailors don't exactly appreciate. Hot, and nary a breeze. Which meant very slow going for participants in the 18th annual Sail for Sight Regatta, staged every year by the Magothy River Sailing Association and Baltimore City Yacht Association to benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

The big fight on this particular afternoon, however, was just trying to stay in the race. Good thing there were coolers of iced beer and trays of hot dogs and hamburgers waiting for the frazzled sailors as they slowly made their way to the regatta party at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Marine Center.

"We had very little air. We had people dropping anchors to avoid going backward. We had people running aground. ... I spent two hours staring at Gibson Island," said BCYA past commodore Mary Lees Gunther.

"You feel like you deserve a trophy just for finishing," noted current commodore Bill Shinn.

"We attempted to start the race. But for two hours, we couldn't get across the start line. So we bagged the race and motored back to Baltimore so we could make the party. We were the first to throw in the towel," said Holly Tilford, a Smith Barney financial adviser.

Getting to the party was itself a reason to celebrate. The boredom of the race was quickly forgotten, as the party got into full swing. For one couple, this was a double celebration.

"We met at this race in 2002," said Naval Sea Systems Command engineer Matt Hayden.

"And now we're getting married Aug. 26," said his fiancee, Anna Nardone, director of marketing for the Chesapeake Eye Care & Laser Center. "This is kind of like an anniversary."


Media head, family man

Tyrone Taborn, 47, is chief executive of Career Communications Group Inc., a "diversity resource media company" that he founded about 20 years ago. Taborn is also publisher of five magazines under the CCG umbrella, including US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology and Women of Color. Taborn and his wife, CCG chief financial officer / president Jean Hamilton, have two children, Ty, 18, and Courtney, 16.

When you were in college at Cornell University, is this the career path you thought you'd be taking?

I had a plan to be a social change agent. And I thought I could do it through the political system. But I found the power of the media was much stronger.

Are you happy with the road you took?

I couldn't think of a better road to take because of the incredible people I've met. Women and minorities. I have a front-row seat as I see history being made. And I'm documenting it.

Does that sometimes feel overwhelming?

I never forget my beliefs. I have a strong feeling of mission. It's funny. I just never thought I would fail.

What else do you feel passionate about?

Family. And I'm a passionate tech geek. There's not a consumer device that I do not have.

Of all those devices, do you have a current favorite?

My iPod. The iPod is one of the greatest devices. It offers not only entertainment, but also delivers information. For example -- my wife and I just celebrated 21 years of marriage. My anniversary gift to her was an iPod. I took all the videos of the kids from the time they were born to now. I also scanned wedding pictures and put music behind it. I digitized it -- over 24 hours of video -- and loaded all that on the iPod and gave that to her. She's not a computer freak like I am, but she said that was the best gift I'd ever given her.

Do you find it's hard to keep a balance between your business and personal life?

This job is a lifestyle. I can't separate the people who buy our services from our friends. That's the same with Jean because we share a value system with most of our clients, so it's not surprising that we become good friends [with them]. ... We love to travel. We've traveled a lot, and we have taken our kids everywhere with us. ... The freedom of this job has given us the opportunity to raise two incredibly gifted kids.

Are you good at hanging out at home, too?

When we built our house, I said you guys can have everything else, but I want a media room. I've got a 72-inch Mitsubishi, with built-in speakers throughout the room. Often when we have guests over, we'll have dinner and go down to that room and watch movies.

What kinds of movies?

I love science fiction. [One of my favorites is] Blade Runner.

Can you watch your faves again and again?

Yeah, because I can see something [each time] that I missed before. The whole meaning of the movie can turn on one or two words. I don't know how many times I've watched The Matrix. ... One movie we went out to see recently, that I thought was good, was The Devil Wears Prada.

Your wife must've dragged you to see that.

No. I took her. You see, I've been going through this period lately. For people who've given me so much, I need to do the unexpected. She would've thought we would go see Superman, but I knew this was something she'd enjoy.

You think she thinks you're a pretty good husband?

I hope so. I hope she's stayed with me for that reason. I think she's an unbelievable wife.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Cheesecake. I'm an ex-smoker, but every once in awhile, I love to have a cigarette. I like driving fast. Not all the time, but if I'm in a good place. ... And I go out of my way to get free upgrades to first class.

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