You should have been there. Over 800 professional and business women gathering at the Business Women’s Forum in Hartford, CT. ABC News’ Good Morning America anchor, Robin Roberts shared her ideas and experiences, her philosophy and delightful sense of humor to help us all bounce back from these challenging economic times. Ms. Roberts inspired us with her advice to “put yourself in position for good things to happen to you.” She believes that “proximity is power” and that you need to “dream big and focus small.” This is the attitude and actions that have helped her build a stellar college basketball record, a successful career in sports journalism with ESPN and her current success as a national anchor on Good Morning America.
She advised us to remember our own steps to success and to find a way to “make your mess your message.” A survivor of breast cancer, Ms. Roberts reminded us that difficult times are only chapters of our life, they are not our life story. “Allow your experiences to change you” but not define you.
Another wonderful treat during the BWF event was the morning speaker, Victoria LaBalme. Her entertaining wake-up call to get off the conveyer belt of life was delivered with such humor and resonating insight that it will be remembered for many years to come. She reminds us that “busy does not equal important” and that we must strive to Look – Listen- Love in new ways in order to get the most out of our lives.
I especially enjoyed Victoria’s thoughts on establishing your “through-line” (a concept from acting/performing) that is, the WHY or the vision of what you want to accomplish. Know your “through-line” and all other things fall into place, she suggested. I believe that this concept has application to how you develop and deliver your presentations (always give your audience the why before the what) and how you can more effectively manage other people in your business and in our personal life.
Victoria shared her video that she produced in 2000 dancing through the streets of New York City. Check out her Park Avenue Shuffle and watch how people react (or try hard not to) as they go about their busy lives. Wouldn’t you love to try something this bold and daring in your life…just once?
The unexpected inspiration came from Lynn Ward, President and CEO of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce in CT. Lynn and her committee put on the event. Instead of the usual “thank you for coming – thank you sponsors” speech, Lynn moved the audience with a compelling story of her life and career path. A single parent and mother of a special needs child, Lynn has worked her way through the ranks of leadership while balancing the needs and demands of raising a family and caring for others. She advised us to “be true to oneself” and that this was the true road to success. Finally, she reminded us of the importance of “saying what you mean and meaning what you say.”