by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology
At The Women's Congress, I was happy to see some of my favorite people:
- like my attorney and fellow Entrepreneur Magazine blogger, Nina Kaufman;
- Diva blogger extraordinare, Toby Bloomberg (on the spur of the moment, we ended up co-hosting a session together);
- Kay Cioffi of Tex-Zen Partners (and her fabulous new hire Sherron!) and
- Cory Edwards of Symantec (talk about a smart guy who totally gets social media!)
I also got to meet:
- Rebecca Weeks from realgirlsmedia (the creators of DivineCaroline.com - I'll be interviewing Kate at this week's AlwaysOn OnMedia NYC conference);
- Kelley Rexroad, America's HR Strategist and
- Ja-Nae Duane, the Founder of Wild Women Entrepreneurs
And, guess who won the Entrepreneurial Champion for Women Award at The Women's Congress? Yes, yours truly! I was totally floored and honored. For a moment, I was speechless. Notice, I said, "for a moment"? :)
I knew that I had asked a number of people to nominate me for the award, but I also new that hundreds of women were being considered for the award. I do great work, but c'mon now.
Before the conference, I was sent an email that let me know I was a finalist, but c'mon now.
I entered the awards luncheon and there were about 200 people, many who were nominees. Seriously, c'mon now.
So, I'm seated at my table - allllll the way in the back of the banquet room - and they call my name. I'm leafing through conference material and making notes on the back of business cards I had received...and it hit me..."Lena West...hey, THAT'S ME!"
Mouth open, I started to stand up and I began the walk to the front of the room that seemed like it took for-like-EVER. But, I took my time...me in high heels walking on tricky convention center carpet tiles is not a good combination to start with.
I got on stage, and mumbled something about being honored and thanking my family, clients, supporters and mentors. I purposely slowed down, stopped being nervous and enjoyed the moment. Then the most prolific thing (if I do say so myself) came out of my mouth:
"They say, when you teach a man, you teach an individual. But, when you teach a woman, you teach a nation."
*Round of applause*
"I thank all my mentors and supporters for teaching me...because I plan to teach other women."
I've made this statement before, of course, but how it came to me to say in that moment, in that way, I'll never know. Divine providence at work, I guess.
The people at my table, Ja-Nae, Kelley, Valerie told me that the mark of a good acceptance speech at the Academy Awards is when the winner is interrupted by applause, as I was. I don't know about all that, but it felt damned good to have the above statement enthusiastically validated by so many successful women.
If you think about it - and you don't have to think hard - it's true. We women do teach nations. What's the first thing you do when you find out something cool, interesting or insightful? You call or email a friend, right? Or, you blog about it, right?
Not much gets past us. Not much is lost on us. The changes that need to happen in this world are going to be made uniquely possible through and by women. Sure, men will help...but the bigger picture is a woman thing.
What many people don't know is there was a time when women were revered and worshipped. We truly ran the world. Global empires revolved around us. Until we became 'too powerful' and our reign was forcibly stripped. Well, we're getting our power back in spades. The tides are not turning - they've turned. And, it's not just that we have a woman on a serious campaign to be President of the United States. Or that Meg Whitman is at the helm of eBay. Or that Carly Fiorina headed HP, etc. etc. That's a small part of it.
The bigger part is that women like you and me...simply by virtue of pursuing what we love to do -- whether that's marketing, coaching, consulting, knitting, designing, building, connecting or anything else constructive -- are changing global consciousness. It's all about the everyday woman.
I'll say it again:
The changes that need to happen in this world are going to be made uniquely possible through and by women.
Thank God I was born a woman.