Today was a great day!
I don’t know if it is just me or if others experience this as well, but when I am about to hit a breakthrough it seems that it instantly starts to fall apart around me. I think it’s a test, a test to see if I will just give up or actually push through to get there… You feel me? All too often however I let self-doubt and workplace frustrations creep in to my thoughts, so much so that recently I couldn’t even make a simple trip to the post office without making wrong turns…This was my morning… Thankfully, I had a Women’s Leadership luncheon planned. Not at my best, but I thought at least I can sit and listen to the speaker on “Why Mentors Matter”, which has always been a big interest of mine.
Little did I know the treat that I would receive! First, the tables were set up with the non-sponsors in the back (now y’all know I typically never sit in the back) but I knew exactly where to sit. The ladies at my table were amazing and I instantly could tell they were driven leaders in their field! I met several ladies in finance, a grant coordinator, a marketer, and Emily Baker. Emily, who is currently working at B.F.Goodrich in Supply Chain, had a spark and excitement about her! As you can probably guess I was drawn to her almost instantly. When I ask her about her background and she explained she graduated as a mechanical engineer…. I am not sure I heard what was after… I was jumping up and down inside… A LADY ENGINEER! I was so excited! If she had been sitting right next to me I am not sure I would’ve been able to stop the endless questions I wanted to ask her! I got her number and knew I would talk with her later… This connection was just meant to be!
As the speaker, Connie Hill, PHD and CEO of Girls Inc. of Central Alabama was introduced, I wondered what was Girls Inc. As she spoke about her previous careers and mentors, I was really touched by her early work with the Alliance to End Homelessness and Domestic Abuse. She spoke about mentoring as a duty that we have to build a better future. Then, she explained to group, her mission to raise awareness for Girl, Inc.! This is the good part!
“Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold”
That one line was enough for me to want to support the organization, but then I heard more… At age 6 (my daughter’s age), girls start thinking they aren’t as smart as boys. That stat is NOT ok with me. I immediately thought… how can we fix that? She went on to say that Girls Inc. empowers girls to succeed by helping develop the skills and confidence they need to achieve at their highest level. They help girls reach their fullest potential by providing gender-specific, age-appropriate programming that teaches life skills and promotes healthy life choices. They TEACH! This was the biggest takeaway for me. As I plan to develop a Women’s program in our industry, I have been asking myself, what do we want to talk about? This was also a topic at our lunch table and I think we found the answer we needed. It’s about teaching the actual skills for the job! It doesn’t matter the mentor or the mentee. At the end of the day, they should both leave the session with an ‘I CAN do it’ attitude and the skills to accomplish it!
As a woman in a male dominated industry, I am excited about the opportunity to create this type of peer group for the ladies I know in engineering, marketing, and management!
Speaking of engineering, this is really what made my day… Connie explained they focus on areas where women are not. “Girls Inc.’s core areas of programming include: science, math, technology, career development, economic literacy, English & creative writing, healthy living, arts, sports and cultural enrichment.”
So for me I met a present day engineer working in a male-dominated industry and the woman who is the CEO of an organization that is focused on building the future for WOMEN engineers, scientists, and basketball players, to name but a few, in Alabama!
Stay tuned because you will be definitely be hearing more and more about this organization as I take the next step of finding out how I can be more involved. For now, make sure you check out how to be a #ChampionForGirls on their website: http://www.girlsinccentral-al.org/
Every time I read this post, I am inspired again… I have learned so much since the day I wrote it. Now more than ever, I see my purpose to connect, inform, and educate our industry and my network of peers! Can’t wait to see what happens next! Don’t forget to let me know your struggles and/or dreams!