Luncheon with LaRae Quy, May 12, 2012
The Sufi Women Organization luncheon on Saturday, May 12, 2012, featured former FBI counterintelligence agent LaRae Quy. Attendees, which included a diverse community of women and men, a number of whom were new to the luncheon series and initiatives of SWO, enjoyed a meal and conversation, and an opportunity to engage in LaRae’s stories and learnings.
Since retiring from the FBI after 25 years of service, LaRae has begun working as a speaker and trainer, translating the skills and capacities she cultivated as an agent into tools she believes can support people of all ages and backgrounds in creating deeper meaning in both life and work. According to LaRae, FBI investigations “are a journey into the unknown, sometimes volatile, and full of hits and misses. The tools to investigate the unknown are not just the provenance of inquisitive FBI agents – they can belong to anyone interested in expanding their horizons.”
Using the story of her first assignment successfully identifying a Russian KGB agent as a personal example and metaphor, LaRae spoke to the necessity of both self-knowledge, body awareness and deep listening in accurately sensing the nature of a situation and the dynamics at play. She highlighted the need to pay attention to the quality of our questions, and to become sensitive to the kinds of information our questions elicit as we ask them. “Look for the questions that animate as we ask and answer them,” she said, “the ones that bring life into the body and the face.” According to LaRae, tracking those things that elicit emotion and physiological responses as we speak and contemplate them can help us know which pursuits will lead us toward greater freedom and fulfillment.
LaRae concluded with a discussion of ways to neutralize fears and identify and develop specific goals and dreams, even those that at first seem far from reach. Her talk was followed by a question and answer period and further conversation. Attendees were interested to hear her elaborate on some of her most surprising moments as an agent, including those in which her cover was compromised, requiring her to respond to the unknown with dexterity and poise.
Participants and organizers look forward to upcoming luncheons and events coming this fall. The Sufi Women Organization, a forum for women of diverse cultural backgrounds, is a department of the International Association of Sufism, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the United Nations. Established in 1993, SWO’s humanitarian goals include women’s rights, education, and social equity.