By Wendy Reuer, photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum Photo Editor
FARGO — Danica Patrick made history in Fargo Wednesday, Nov. 14, as the first female speaker of The Chamber of Fargo Moorhead West Fargo's annual Voices of Vision event at the Delta by Marriott.
Patrick is the first female winner of a major-league open-wheel race and a NASCAR Cup series pole. Since retiring from racing, she has pursued several business ventures including writing two books, founding an athleisure clothing line and becoming a proprietor of a vineyard to create the wine Somnium.
She has been named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and was the first woman host of the ESPY Awards. This month, she is featured on the national cover of Entrepreneur Magazine and will be the keynote speaker later this year at an Entrepreneur premiere event.
But few of the questions Patrick took following her speech Wednesday were related to her driving career or business acumen. Instead, most focused on her personal life and current relationship with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In her keynote speech, Patrick spoke about about how she focuses on three themes in life: the power of dreaming and visualizing the dream; learning the difference between quitting and letting go; and doing your best but not taking things personally.
Patrick’s racing career began with go-kart racing at age 10, a family hobby that eventually took her to Europe for three years at age 16.
At 19, when she returned to the U.S., Patrick said she needed a new path in life. With just a GED education, she only saw racing in her life.
“If you truly want something and you want to make it your reality, you really have to believe it will be,” she said.
Patrick said that as someone whose motto is always “try harder,” it can be difficult to learn when to let go of something and not see it as quitting.
Following her speech, Patrick sat down with local radio broadcaster Dan Michaels, who asked her submitted questions, starting with Patrick’s family, growing up and go-kart racing.
Patrick, an animated speaker who used her hands often while talking and scanning the more than 900 in attendance during her 45 minutes on stage, garnered many laughs from the audience with her frank answers. She quickly pointed out to Michaels that most of their time was spent on her life at age 10 and they might want to move along.
She was then peppered with questions about her current relationship with Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Patrick didn’t hesitate to admit she is a Packers fan in a room full of Minnesota Vikings fans. Although most questions were personal, she continued to smile and answered candidly when asked “what line Rodgers used to pick her up” when they first met and even gave details about their first date.
She was asked if she welds, to which she replied, “No.” Patrick was not asked about her entrepreneurial ventures or current business models.
Each year, the Chamber hosts a nationally known speaker at its annual Voices of Vision luncheon who are asked to share their inspiring life lessons. Last year, Shaquille O'Neal spoke following Robert O’Neil in 2016, Rudy Giuliani in 2015, Terry Bradshaw in 2014, Jeb Bush in 2013, Joe Theismann in 2012, Bob Woodward in 2011 and Lt. Col. Oliver North in 2010.
Chamber President Craig Whitney welcomed Chamber members to send in suggestions for the 2019 Voices of Vision speaker.
This story appears in its entirety on Inforum.com