As a lifelong student, I’ve always been intrigued to learn what makes each person successful. Rather than learning the “hard” way, listening to the experience from others is like taking a “cliff notes” approach leveraging the wisdom of those who have come before, who are succeeding, and who are interested in helping others.
My father instilled the notion of spending time with those who are doing incredible things—things that I thought were impossible for me. He was talking about “role models” in each season of our life. This has served me ever since. When you learn from the bigger, faster, and more successful women and men, not only do you see what’s possible, you can stretch your own vision of what you want to achieve.
Standing on the shoulders of giants I was able to build my success through the gifts of wisdom and insight they shared with me. So passing the gifts received is my legacy. Throughout my career, I’ve helped countless young professionals see and achieve their potential in 1:1 mentoring and friendships, through building supportive communities and organizations such as WIFS (Women In Insurance and Financial Services) Portland, and LEAP (Leaders Executives Across Professions). And now, it’s time for this next project.
Women Need Accessible Role Models
It’s likely that you’ve heard of the success of Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, Ariana Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, and countless other women entrepreneurs who seem to have “made it.” While their stories are inspirational, and many share the struggles they faced on their journey to success, they feel like long shots, outliers, and rare cases for the average woman professional.
However, a lesser-known fact is that there are many more successful women who have built successful businesses, led amazing organizations, and are breaking barriers, that are not in the limelight or on the cover of Forbes and Entrepreneur. Becoming wildly successful is possible, but our lack of role models that feel “more like us” can make it feel like a harrowing journey. So I’ve decided to do something about it!
Welcome to Women’s Million Dollar Conversations, a series where I feature leading women who have acquired, earned, or sold over a million dollars to discuss their insights, experiences, and tips on how they achieved their goals so that you can expand your vision and achieve yours.
It gives me great pleasure to kick off this effort with my good friend, Laura Salerno Owens. She is a brilliant lawyer and a highly successful professional who is recognized as a Top 100 Legal Influencer in the U.S. by the Business Journals and an Oregon Woman of Achievement by the Governor’s Commission on Women. She’s achieved all this while working her way to managing partner in her firm and growing her family with two young children. I hope her story and the incredible interviews we have prepared inspire you to stretch your own vision. You never know, maybe your next million dollars is closer than you think!
From the very beginning of her career, Laura admits she had a lofty goal, bringing in a million dollars of business in one year for her law firm. When it happened, she felt an overwhelming rush of gratitude. She knew that achieving this milestone was a team effort and shared her win with the team who stood by her side.
Laura was not immune to the biases about women and financial success. Taking maternity leave not once but twice was seen as a very risky move, and some thought she would lose momentum, but Laura proved them wrong. She was confident in her “rainmaking” abilities and achieved her goal faster than she thought possible when starting her career.
Please help inspire the women around you by sharing this series and connect with me to nominate a guest for an upcoming episode.