This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to introduce the Truman Leadership Project to a group of dynamic, motivated women at the Griffith’s Leadership Society for Women’s Spring 2013 Conference.
I gave up my regular Saturday sleeping-in-time (so precious) and woke up early to throw on my new blazer and scoot to the large, unfamiliar brick alumni center in the heart of campus. While I had done my research about Griffith’s and had heard nothing but positive things, I still felt a little out of place and unsure about what I was getting into. I shot a shy smile to the girl working the check-in table and found my way to the coffee setup and then my seat. Almost too soon for this hater-of-public-speaking, my turn to to talk came.
Standing behind the podium, my nervous thoughts swirled as I looked out across the room. Bright and early at 8am, I was faced with 200 smiling, interested, beautiful women staring back at me. I eagerly told them about myself, the Truman Leadership Project, and how they could help if they were somehow (please!), interested. To my surprise, the conclusion of my hurried rambling was met with hands shooting up. I answered questions to the crowd’s satisfaction, sitting back down at my table 10 minutes later with a smile and a deep breath.
With my part out of the way, I wondered to myself if the Truman Leadership Project had connected with any of the intimidating, accomplished women surrounding me. I planned to spend the rest of the day buried in the conference agenda book, creating my own plan to aspire towards becoming as amazing as the women surrounding me. Little did I know!
From the moment I was done, women from all backgrounds approached me. Sharing their gratitude, ideas, interest, and overwhelmingly kind words of support. An undergraduate student from the College of Education walked with me to the next session, caught up in a whirlwind of ideas about the project. A women stopped me in the restroom as I was washing my hands, telling me I was a wonderful speaker and to continue pursuing my goals. A colleague from another area of campus pulled me aside to say she had no idea I was doing something like this and to congratulate me.
I quickly realized that the accomplished, intimidating women surrounding me were also lucky enough to be incredibly warm, gracious, and engaged, too. From start to finish- the experience was filled with wonderful, amazing, inspirational women who were interested in real fellowship and leadership. To Griffith’s- thank you for the opportunity to speak! But further still, thank you for building an organization centered around fostering this type of environment for women. How blessed to have an opportunity to talk about leadership with a group of women so genuinely attuned to building each other up. Thank you!