Here is my story and this is why W.O.M.E.N. In America has made my dreams come true!
I was raised in a family of doctors where I loved working at my grandfather’s and father’s office. It was the 70’s and I filed way too many papers, cleaned smelly examination rooms and emptied an alarming number of ash trays. It was the 70’s – who knew? But still I was intrigued with the passion I saw as they cared for their patients.
Maybe I could be a doctor just like my father. I was a hard worker, had a good academic record and enjoyed being a leader. As President of my senior class my application for college looked good. But by then my dream had changed. I didn’t know anyone who was a female doctor and raised a family. I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family but without knowing anyone who was living the life I dreamed of I thought it wasn’t possible. So, I changed my dream and looked for a path that would lead me to a large corporation where I would get a job and find a husband.
I know! I will be an Executive Secretary, support the CEO of a company, meet a successful businessman, get married and raise a family! Yes, it’s true, this was my career aspiration. My #1 college choice - Katharine Gibbs School in Boston where I would enroll in their executive secretarial training program.
Maybe I would meet a guy from Tufts University or Boston College. The plan felt good until my mother saw something in me that I did not see in myself.
My mother encouraged me to dream big. With her support I attended college, graduated with a BS in Marketing and Management and was accepted into a training program at Aetna Insurance Company. It was the 80’s and at that time it was challenging for women to grow their careers and aspire to be future leaders. My first manager was terrific. He was a mentor and sponsor who saw something in me that I did not see in myself. He paved a path that led to promotions and career advancement.
Over the years I have had several mentors and sponsors. But there was one person whose impact was most significant. I will never forget the day he called me to discuss a promotion which I had turned down. He said “I want you to know what I see in you that you may not see in yourself.” Those words changed the trajectory of my career. I reconsidered and accepted the job. For the third time I relocated my family, this time to New Jersey and assumed new responsibility as the Regional President Downstate NY/NJ for Travelers Insurance. This was a leadership position that I never thought I would be in. It just took someone to encourage me to see my potential and with that my career advanced.
Over the years I can think of 5 women who saw something in me that I did not see I myself. They consistently supported me, guided me through challenges and celebrated career accomplishments. These are women who authentically always had and still have my back. They provide honest feedback, good or bad and help me be who I am today. I am pleased to share that one woman is a WIA Mentor. She nominated me for W.O.M.E.N. In America and invited me into a community of women that would forever impact my life and my career/pbr> .
Seeing something in others that they don’t see in themselves. This is what we do at W.O.M.E.N. In America. We are a community of radically generous women who share time, learnings, coaching and mentoring to help younger women see in themselves what they do not see.
We are soul sisters who encourage each other to let our true selves shine through and aspire to achieve greatness in our personal and professional lives. No career challenge is off limits. WIA is a safe community of women where there is no judgment and confidentiality is sacred.
Over the years we have celebrated promotions and new positions, engagements and birth announcements, milestone career moments and retirements.
Thanks to W.O.M.E.N. In America my heart sings with joy. My female mentorship community has grown from 5 to 200 plus. As a mentor I know I can call anyone in the WIA community and ask for advice or support. I have learned so much from every Mentee, Alum and Mentor. I joyously pay it forward sharing my life’s learning. And everyone joyously pays it forward offering me advice from transition in my career to setting up my Instagram page!
Women In America is my lighthouse. On clear days and foggy days their light is always shining bright and guiding me to see in myself what I do not see. If you embrace every WIA opportunity you will never be alone on your career journey.
I am proud to be a Mentor in W.O.M.E.N. in America. It is a privilege to call so many accomplished women – Mentors, Mentees and Alum - my friends. WIA makes you dream big and helps you makes those dream come true. I am so grateful for the courageous women who dedicated themselves to create this community. Let’s us all join hands and make everyone’s dreams come true.