As a small business owner, I look for a couple of events a year which are inspirational. What I look for is people to look up to. People who have been on a similar path in some way. I might be looking for inspiration, new ideas, new perspectives or validation of what I may already know.
The (very slow) ending of Winter here in the Northeast U.S. seemed like an a propos time to attend a panel discussion with about a dozen of New Hampshire’s leading women in business. Some are with large companies (Anthem as one example), some a bit smaller (McLean Publishing, Labelle Winery) and some non profits (Families in Transition). This roundtable was hosted by the Center for Women’s Business Advancement.
“What you would tell your 21 year old self” was the last question and most inspiring. Selected answers are shared below.
These women had gathered in January in a private session, and generously agreed to this second panel session for the public, to share much of the January discussions and more.
I can’t even imagine how the scheduling process went; when you read who was in attendance, you’ll see why I say that. Demographics in the printed program showed that most are in the age range of 44-54; most are married; typically two adult children in the family.
- Linda Johnson, Moderator, McLane Law Firm;
- Susan de Mari, McLane Law Firm;
- Lisa Guertin, President, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield NH;
- Linda Fanaras, President, Millennium Integrated Marketing;
- Amy LaBelle, Owner and Winemaker, LaBelle Winery;
- Cathy Schmidt, Executive Director and CEO, McLane Law Firm;
- Margaret Franckhauser, CEO, Central NH VNA & Hospice;
- Dianne Mercier, President, People’s United Bank;
- Tiffany Eddy, Principal, FocusFirst Communications;
- Betsy Gardella, President and CEO, NHPR;
- JerriAnne Boggis, Director, Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail;
- Maureen Beauregard, President, Families in Transition;
- MaryAnn Manoogian, CWBA;
- Sharron McCarthy, McLean Communications.
Advice for Your 21 Year Old Self
There was so much they shared with us about the path to their current roles, that it would take a book.
“What advice would you give your 21 year old self.” This question – or their answers really – resonated with me, so I’ll share some comments here.
Whether you are a small business owner, working for someone else, working for your home and family, I’m going to suggest that you:
- think about each piece of advice and whether it speaks to you;
- and ask how you are doing, in your life, with that advice. Have you improved along your path? Where do you want to go?
I should mention that I would love to attribute each comment to the appropriate panelist, but I didn’t catch them all. Essentially, answers started from the left side of the stage and went to the right!
- I say “no” more than I say “yes.” (Lisa Guertin)
- When you have other things in your life, balance is easier than only with work. (Sharron McCarthy)
- “Yeah, I can do that.” (Amy Labelle and others. On how they grew their skills and their career, when presented with a project or opportunity. Even if she wasn’t sure she could do it, if it was ‘close enough,’ she tried and assumed she would figure it out.)
- Know who you are. Inside.
- Passion or perseverance. Yes, both. (What does a business owner/leader need most?)
- Keeping balance – During family time, we do not allow any technology or devices as a way to stay connected and pay attention to each other. (Tiffany Eddy)
- Mentors along the way? Yes. Only women? No; could be either a woman or a man.
- Essential skills to help you grow: Be curious. Hire smarter people than you. Listen. (Maureen Beauregard)
- Be brave. Find your voice.
- Save your money…it’s empowering and it means you decide early on how you define success. (Amy)
- Don’t worry about people liking you. Likeability is secondary. Own your great work.
- Don’t sell yourself short; everyone is a mix of confidence and worries.
- Put yourself first versus always taking care of everyone else.
- Figure out what might be transformational for you… how can you change your world view (travel, move around to different places, etc.) – Betsy Gardella
- Don’t compare yourself to your friends.
- Life is not linear. You can make lots of changes. Along the way, you learn who you are.
- Find something you love and fits you and become an expert at that.
- Own your setbacks and don’t let them own you.
- Listen to yourself. Only you know what you can do.
- Take the time to know who you are. Don’t be afraid of that growth.
- Don’t listen if they say you can’t.
Which piece of advice might you consider and think about for yourself? Where would you start? How could you organize your life around what is most important to you?
Next newsletter out soon! “Wrestling with Change” is the lead article, with a few pieces of advice on how to move through it. Also check out our ADHD Awareness section in the newsletter. You can sign up here.