Thank you Oliver.
Had this little boy not gotten the stomach flu, I never would’ve ended up taking someone else’s place at the 7th Annual Women in Philanthropy and Leadership Conference (WIPL). It was my first time at this event and I was not prepared for what happened next.
I’m sitting in the last row, last seat, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, which didn’t work as I’m in my happy mint green polka dot blouse among a sea of black. The next thing I know there’s something magical, almost holy, going on around me and I’m saying to myself with absolute confidence, “You’ve got this. All of it.” And it’s all because of Jan Fields. Because as she spoke “It” all came crashing down and this time, there was nowhere to hide.
“It” was happening right here, right now, in the middle of 600 people.
“It” is everything that I don’t want people to know about me, and these are things that vulnerability doesn’t even begin to cover (take that Brené Brown). And I wasn’t embarrassed because Jan wasn’t either. She wore her war stripes with diamonds and pride and I didn’t know you could do that. Let me rephrase, I didn’t know I could do that.
Jan Fields was introduced as #88 on Forbes’ list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” along with her other impressive accomplishments, and the woman who showed up was pure class and grace. She was someone who knew herself inside and out. She was quirky and humorous and imparted on all of us to laugh at life when it gets tough. As she spoke, her honesty and relevance disarmed my consciousness and unleashed the “it” in my life that I’ve been trying to move beyond.
“Fate intercedes in your life in mysterious ways,” Ms. Fields said. And there I was thinking, “You aren’t kidding.” Remember, I wasn’t even supposed to be there.
After Ms. Fields kicked me in my pants, other fearless women and men took the stage to bare their souls to benefit others and grateful little ‘ol me.
Another person who inspired me was Lynnette Richmann, vice president of global audit services, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. This woman was on fire with all out brilliance. In fact, TED should pick up the talk she gave at WIPL because it was world-class. She spoke of the connection between estrogen and testosterone and how it affects ones ability to succeed, and the countless number of times she’s had to reinvent herself as a result. I related to her exhausting number of starts and stops which ultimately got her to a sweet spot. But again, here’s Lynette being herself strutting it in a killer pair of heels confidently telling us to make our own “Power of 10” take action list — a list of things that only you can accomplish, which then identifies when to ask for help without wasting anyone’s time. She also urged each of us to find clarity so we can have conviction. I think I’ve told everyone I know in the days since the conference how those two things have made me more proactive.
After 20 years in some of NYC’s top pharmaceutical ad agencies, I’m a tough cookie and quite resilient. However, WIPL eased my pain points with solutions that I haven’t tried or heard of — and that I knew would work.
WIPL is a conference that’s dedicated to the spirit in each of us to lead change — especially in women and the challenges we face. To embrace the pearls of wisdom that each of us has. To take those irritating challenges in our lives and turn them into something beautiful like an oyster does with its grain of sand. Sure you can go to WIPL and network, or you can go there and “Lead the Change” by truly listening up and changing what you can change — you.
So WIPL, thank you for helping me learn to embrace what I can control and to stop ruminating over what I can’t change.
I’m a changed woman.
I’m in “what can I do now” mode.
I’m taking action with my Power of 10 List.
I’m practicing patience with myself (HUGE)
I’m right where I need to be.
I’m confident in the unknown.
I’m the best mother I can be.
I’m a believer in fate.
I’m also the happiest I’ve even been.
Sincere thanks to Terri DeCenzo, Jan Fields, Lynette Richmann, Julissa Arce, Samantha Ettus, Lou Kennedy, Cheryl Grava, and as fate would have it, Oliver*.
Creative, t-shirt lovin’, foodie who loves to dance
* Tracy Vreeland’s son who is doing much better now.