‘Achieving your Potential’ – Empowering your Inner Woman!
Last night we Zebra Women (Jessica Johnson and Charlie Bailey) attended ‘Bloom’ at LBi; an industry networking event for women that exists to help them fulfil their potential, achieving this through three pillars; networking, mentoring and fundraising (all proceeds going to Eaves).
The evening was hosted by Claire Beale the Editor of Marketing Magazine who introduced the four inspiring speakers.
“Success is not about swinging a big dick… hopefully we all leave tonight with slightly bigger balls.”
After hearing from the other panel of four, and being pulled up by one of the audience members, Claire corrected that she did not mean that woman have to act more ‘manly’ to get far in life but was purely using the metaphor to ignite a sense of confidence and positive thinking that people would leave the event with. A lovely and inspiring woman she moved on to introduce our five speakers, Kimberly Kriss, Dr Dawn, Steve, Janet Hull and Maria.
Kimberly Kriss a Brand Strategist and former AEG Europe SVP of Marketing started off the night with some inspiring metrics;
“There are 86,400 seconds in a day… that’s 86,400 opportunities to start again, take a new route or view something from a new perspective… so why wait till New Year’s resolution to change your life around?”
She made you feel secure in the fact that you might not necessarily have a plan yet, you may not be on the perfect path just yet, but that’s okay, stating “you never really know where your passion is going to come from. It evolves as you work your way through life.”
The main thing we took away from Kimberly’s talk was to focus some energy on building your own personal brand. It is easy to let yourself become so heavily consumed by building your companies brand that you forget to focus on your own. Your brand is your best commodity, find your strength and discover what you love; then find correlation in the two to discover who you want to be and how you are going to make your mark! Apply this in your everyday presence, through social media platforms and the way you communicate to the world. Though never think that this is it, let your brand evolve, keep going back to the drawing board and make sure your passion is always at the core.
Following this was Dr Dawn, a sassy TV and Media Medic who talked us through her own personal journey. She emphasised the fact that it’s okay not to know the end destination; crazy and amazing things will pop up along the way, and when they do, take the opportunity and enjoy the ride. It might not be exactly what you planned although it is important to explore all your opportunities as you may find something you love that you never before considered!
“I have always believed that life is about opportunities taken and opportunities lost… I’m a huge believer that we make our own luck – if you want something, go get it.”
Next up was Steve the incoming Director for Facebook UK & Ireland who instantly engaged the crowd by joking…
“Can I take a picture so I can show my wife and children why I have rushed up to London this evening *takes a picture* haha only joking that was for my mates” (bearing in mind there was about 100 women in the audience).
Steve had two stories to share with us; firstly the best lesson and obstacle in life he had to overcome, then secondly the best management decision he ever made.
After being presented with some shocking news with regards to his beloved family members, Steve, like many who have dealt with the heartache of loss, came to the clear realisation that life is short, we only get a brief moment on this beautiful earth to live, laugh, love and find some sense of achievement! This inspiring Steve to grab life with both hands…
“What have we got to loose… put some chips on yourself and make a bet…”
His second story was about his best ever management decision. He was trying to crack a brief with his team to pitch for a big Orange telecom pitch though him and his team seemed to be getting nowhere. Just days before after working late trying to generate an idea they still had nothing. Instead of making his team push on through the night again he decided to take them all to dinner and wind down, get out of context of that office and just relax with a few drinks and plates and plates of food. The next day when they got back to the office things just seemed to click and they came up with a winning pitch. Going out to dinner gave him a chance to observe his team and read the room, understanding people as individuals so he could manage them on a personal level rather than a collective style that wouldn’t necessarily work for all.
We then heard from Maria, a victim of people trafficking that had been helped by Eaves; an inspiring story of overcoming the most tragic of times to a point where she wanted to take her own life, to now running a major London retailer, living out her dreams of being a free woman in a city of opportunity. It is hard for us to relate with what Maria has been through, our own problems seeming so superficial in contrast, although Maria still wished to share her story and to inspire people, encouraging the idea that you can always turn your life around and to have confidence in yourself to take another route. Sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds and you need someone to help instil confidence within you; but from this can come greatness, always believe in yourself and never give up.
Lastly we heard from Janet Hull, IPA Director of Marketing and Exec Director of Creative Pioneers Challenge. She described herself as a product of the industry; her story being a long marathon of the industry spanning three decades. One overriding point that spanned her whole career was that…
“I made everything happen… something’s happened to me though I had to respond to them and take them forward.”
She described how she had big goals in the beginning though wouldn’t have achieved them without her mentor who put her on the right path and guided her over the years. We don’t always know what we want to be when we start out, we know what we want to do and sometimes need guidance about how this fits into a commercial role.
Working through challenges on her route to success I believe her resounding message was to never give up, meet challenges head first and always stand up for yourself. You do not need to be aggressive to be assertive but always fight for what you believe in.
Walking away with a serious spring in our step, we felt inspired. What a great opportunity it was to hear these stories of failure, persistence, empowerment, change and success! Life is always going to be challenging, but if you take control, be assertive and persistent, keep setting goals and achieving them and manage to bust out a smile along the way… that is success in and of itself!