I hate to be late at events—and I become mortified to think I might be even 5 minutes late to an event where I am one of the keynote speakers. While I was braving the 10 East traffic this Thursday at 7:30 in the morning, I kept worrying if I would make it to the Pasadena Convention Center on time. Never mind that my navigation system was malfunctioning and I was trying to figure out where I need to go on my iPhone while listening to Oprah’s satellite radio program of “who is an energy sucker in your life.” Quite honestly, the question is not “who” but “what”. Traffic nowadays is the biggest drain of my energy.
But, once I parked my car and ran into the ballroom of the convention center and checked in for “Women’s Legacy Leadership Conference,” I felt a rush of positive energy go through me.
Once guided though the large doors of the banquet hall, it was clear that this was going to be a wonderful event. The room was full of beautiful round tables laid with promotional materials including, a packet and little pink rubber hard-hats symbolizing hardworking women. Before the event I was told there would be about 600 women at the event, and once I walked, it was clear that they had all arrived. There was a large stage at the front flanked by two digital movie screens with the event branding perfectly in place.
Phyllis Currie and Gail Farber are two super star women serving the county of Los Angeles in high leadership roles. They started off the day sharing their impressions on their personal journeys. Shortly after I arrived, it was my turn to present – and I focused on some of the key leadership lessons learned from the women featured in Pioneers of the Possible. It is an uncanny feeling when you feel so connected to hundreds of women in the room. Under the dimmed lights, the atmosphere felt intimate and I felt my message about the book resonated with them.
Usually when I make my way back to my seat, I check in with my assistant, who joins me at these events, to see if I did all right. You see, I don’t think this question comes from a place of insecurity. Truthfully, it comes from a place of utter curiosity, because when I am at the podium, I feel like I am in a cocoon with the audience. I have no sense of time or much else. All I try to do is speak with passion about the subjects that I am passionate about.
Well, nothing could have prepared me for the wonderful and heartfelt response I got at the intermission. Once I got to the book-signing table, I noticed a line forming that went down the hall. If I may say so, I was so pleased that my books sold out in a matter of 20 minutes! But, the highlight was chatting with these amazing women who shared their experiences with me. One told me about her upcoming promotion, another about her 3 beautiful daughters that she has raised on her own, and yet another one told me about how arranged a stand-in to save her friend’s home during foreclosure. Now how could I have met any of these women if I hadn’t participated in this conference?
Of course, I got a chance to meet up with an old friend, best-selling author Hope Adelman, and had the opportunity to hear Christine Schwab speak for the first time.
Both are remarkable women who are passionate about seeing women succeed.
The message for the whole day for me was that our journey has much meaning. I always tell the audience that we all have a story. We define our story as much our story defines us. In order to reach higher and assume a leadership position in our own lives, we need to be committed to a path of growth. I felt privileged to have heard the many touching stories of resilience, success, hope, and courage at this conference. If these are traits that we as women can harness, then we too can be pioneers in our own lives!