March is inspiring as women’s events and the call for equity flood our social media streams and stages. We celebrate “Women’s History Month” and “International Women’s Day” on March 8th. However, it’s not enough! One day or month in a year will not make the difference needed to help the world “#Embrace Equity,” this year’s International Women’s Day theme.
Yes, I will still celebrate with other women to highlight the distance we’ve come and spotlight my fellow women professionals who are blazing trails and making change. Yet, I’m taking it further and think you should too.
Last summer, I started a project called Women’s Million Dollar Conversations, where I highlight women who have saved, earned, or sold over a million dollars so that they can share their journey with others in hopes of inspiring women everywhere to pursue their path to success. This project has been an excellent way for me to continue my true calling, helping women build their financial futures, so they have options, control their destinies, and can plant the seeds of generational wealth within their communities. As Abby Wambach, US Women’s Soccer Team superstar, and leading scorer, shared in her book Wolfpack, “Her victory is your victory. Celebrate with her. Your victory is her victory. Point to her.” So when she wins, we all win.
With this thought, I am pleased to announce I am a 2023 Women of Influence Honoree with the Portland Business Journal. However, the limelight doesn’t belong to me; it goes to the thousands of women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, sharing stories with, and providing insight into how they can create financial freedom. It goes to the guests who have joined the Women’s Million Dollar Conversations project and are willing to bravely share their stories, triumphs, and failures to inspire other women to reach for the stars and embrace equity. Finally, it goes to my community that helped shape my perspective, challenged me to pursue my ambitions, and supported me on this journey.
While I initially started my work in financial planning to earn a living and create financial freedom, it has transformed into so much more. I do this work to empower women to continue trailblazing, showing others it’s possible and providing guidance, comfort, and a little humor. I believe Marianne Williamson states it best in her poem, “Our Deepest Fear,”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” She continues, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
That’s precisely why I do this work. It’s not about me, the acclaim, or recognition; it’s because doing this work helps other women embrace who they are and what they can offer to the world. These guests have embraced their light and now provide pearls of wisdom to encourage others to do the same.
“I used to think I had to be one of the guys, but I learned that to be my best self, I had to get really comfortable with being myself,” said Audra Smith, Regional Sales Manager, Group Employee Benefits for Principal Financial Group, with over 30 years in Underwriting and Sales experience in the industry. Embracing the real you and leveraging your unique talents and perspective is crucial to letting your light shine. Yet sometimes, we allow our perceptions to limit our light.
“I would say the number one thing that holds women back is your thoughts. Women have to get out of their heads, change the narrative, and believe they can do it. And if they believe that and go after it, they will have incredible opportunities,” shared Jackie Seto, Product Development Expert, Mentor, and Advisor with over 20 years of experience leading divisions in the semiconductor industry. Jackie has been mentoring women in a highly male-dominated industry for years and shared advice with many women professionals: “Walk into the room as if you belong.”
Once you begin to shine and embrace your authentic self, obstacles transition to challenges waiting to be tamed. “When I hear somebody say that you can’t do something, that is an invitation to say, why not?” share Kara Goldin, Founder of Hint, Inc., best known for its award-winning Hint® water and author of WSJ & Amazon Bestseller Undaunted.
After we learn to shine our light, it also empowers others to shine. The joy and momentum from helping others embrace their light are just as, if not more, rewarding than finding your light. “When we can reach out and help others, there’s more to life than our own power and money; it’s that fulfillment of helping others that also is important,” shared Peggy Fisher, a Functional Nutritionist who pursued her passion for helping others live a healthier life after a successful career as a marketing, sales, and strategic planning executive.
To embrace, you must first believe. If you want to believe, but don’t fully believe it yet, leverage the faith others have in your abilities to succeed, as some of my guests have shared. And once you truly believe and shine your light, find ways to help others strengthen their light. Thank you to all the women who have graced the project already and to those who will join us in the future. You are role models for many; your stories of both success and setbacks help inspire us all to embrace our potential and embrace equity.
So the question goes to you, dear friend and reader, what thoughts would you add? Who has helped you achieve your success? What will you do to inspire future generations of women leaders?
Please share your insights here and with your community, and if you would like to nominate someone to be a future guest on Women’s Million Dollar Conversations, please DM me with details on LinkedIn.