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I am thrilled and honored to have been selected as the new Chair of the DC Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization. Their mission: to improve business conditions and promote acceptance and advancement of women entrepreneurs in all industries. One of their goals, to build the “New Girls’ Network,” is right up my alley! It is a great, international organization, too, with their newest chapter in Cape Town, South Africa kicking off this week.
As the Chair, I am responsible for leading and facilitating our local peer advisory group. The goals of this group: accelerate growth and enhance competitiveness of our members. Who CAN’T use that kind of support, especially in this economy? Additionally, I hope to bring my passions for innovation, possibility thinking, and creating opportunities through connections to this group. I just know it is going to be a blast!
While I’m starting with one chapter, my goal is to find enough women in the DC area to have one in DC, one in Northern Virginia, and one in Montgomery County. I have no doubt the women are out there – now I’m off to find them and any recommendations are welcome!
This morning, I was asked to provide “final words” to the two groups of women in South Africa that I have helped train over the past 18 months. First of all, I never consider anything I do as “final” and certainly not where words are involved. But I did want to share with them my insight and observations on the time we spent together as well as my advice for their moving forward. I believe there is universal advice in my message, so I’m sharing it here.
“I am no longer amazed at the power I feel emanating from a gathering of smart women, but I can feel the energy in the room there across the ocean, all the way here.
As I reflect back on the programs that have taken place over the past 18 months, I realize what it was that we really accomplished. We did not, as I anticipated before we began, create anything new. We did not make you into anyone you were not before we met. What we did is unlock the potential that was already present within you. The raw materials existed long before we met…we just helped you access and embrace them and brought you together with other women who could continue coaxing out your inner genius when we couldn’t be around.
I have heard from many of you how these experiences have changed your life and I want you to know, they – and you – have changed mine as well. I have been enriched with new friends, new dreams, and experiences I could previously only dream of. Through you all, I’ve found my true passion: empowering others and finding joy in watching you blossom. I see what you’ve gained from interacting and supporting each other, having other people believe in you, and receiving a sometimes firm but ALWAYS loving “boot in the butt”. Your success and perseverance through difficulties truly thrills and inspires me.
So now, onto my wishes for you all.
I wish that you continue to focus on your path…whatever that is…finding ways around the many obstacles that have or will seemingly block your way. If you look hard enough, I know you will find the meaning in those obstacles: a lesson in patience and persistence or a sign you need to be flexible and take a detour, or perhaps even an opportunity to strengthen your faith.
I wish that you remember to see yourself as we do: intelligent, capable, and beautiful, inside and out.
And finally, I wish that you never forget to think BIG and always remember our responsibility to pay it forward, because that is the ONLY way we’re going to be able to change the world together.”
To my delight, my message was met not with applause, but with a resounding “WOOHOO!” It made me smile with tears in my eyes – one of my favorite emotions.
I also shared the “podium” (via SKYPE) with Claudia Morrell, who impressed upon the women the importance of what they’re doing. By stepping out and forging their own way in entrepreneurship, these women are helping to, as one person on the Middle East shared with Claudia, “revolutionize thinking” around the world. She called them heroes and trailblazers, echoing the sentiments of all of us who have been involved in the projects.
As I have said often in many a presentation: one snowflake CAN break a tree branch when joined together with others. It’s not important which one delivers the final blow, but that all the others add their weight so the branch can, indeed, be broken when it is time. That is what we’re doing…adding our snowflakes to the pile. So I have one question for you: Are you putting your snowflake out there?