As I think about International Women’s Day 2018, I can’t help but reflect on my own journey. In my first leadership position, I remember walking into a large conference room full of disapproving stares and looks of confusion.
I can even recall the anxiety that almost overtook me as I quickly tried to find a seat somewhere in the back of the crowded room. The next meeting was pretty much the same and the ones after that. Yet, on one occasion, there was a kind, welcoming, and friendly voice that said, “sit here.” Angie signaled for me to take the seat next to her. We exchanged brief introductions before the meeting began. At the time, little did I know that Angie would become my mentor and trusted friend.
She was my saving grace in those early days as a bright-eyed, ambitious, and frightened young woman. One of many things that I learned from her was that I had better choices in seating. I didn’t have to automatically go to the back of the room. Angie was a sounding board when I would run into her office panicked about a client who was unhappy with the financial advice from someone on my team and this same client played golf with the director. She would make introductions that turned out to be pivotal in helping me navigate the corporate landscape. She was my champion when an opportunity opened that I and others didn’t believe I had enough experience to succeed.
Thank you, Angie, for the doors you opened, the great advice you shared and helping me find the truth of who I am. Those lessons have stayed with me for decades and still carry me today.
It is because of women like Angie, and countless other sheroes who are a catalyst for change in their sphere of influence that stereotypes are dispelled, inequalities are challenged, and doors are busted open.
To all women - I see you, I hear you, I feel you, and I am you. You are my light and inspiration!llll
How will I press for progress?
As a woman-owned business, I have always been very conscious of who and where I invest my resources. I will foster inclusive actions through my hiring practices and vendor selection process. I will foster more collaborations with women to build a community contributing to changing the status quo.
Together, we can accelerate gender parity. I think you would agree 200 years is way too long. No matter where you are or what you do, women and men, your actions can make a difference right where you stand.
I would love to hear how you will press for progress.
About the Author: Michele Thompson Rosario, CEO of Bright Effects, helping entrepreneurs get clients, get traffic, and get results.