What fun it was to speak with the inspiring women at the Lafayette Women’s Chamber Fueling Your Success Symposium at the Petroleum Club. The room was filled with businesswomen and business owners sharing their stories about where they are and how they got there.
As keynote speaker, I was asked to address how I became successful. To prepare I did two things:
- Drive myself down memory lane to my formative years at Ford Aerospace in Colorado Springs then later at Price Waterhouse in New Orleans. To returning to Lafayette with my husband, and both having the gall to start our own businesses despite having little money — but lots of courage and confidence. To my time as the first CIO at Lafayette General, a 24-7 experience. All leading up to now, with my Salesforce Consulting company where we have fun helping clients. Lots of success, and some failures too (which I prefer to call opportunities). More success.
- Reach out to five women I know well who are also baby boomers and became extraordinarily successful. They are in technology, banking, healthcare and public service. I asked them how things were different in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s than they are today — and what helped them become successful. Excerpts from their thoughtful responses to my inquiry, paraphrased for brevity:
“My mother said: ‘Never forget where you have come from, but never allow where you have come from to keep you from where YOU want to go!'”
“My greatest skill, which led to my greatest business success, is that I have the ability to work with others to help them perform at levels even beyond their expectations.”
“My mentors (including my husband) each modeled admirable / desirable behavior and gave good feedback.”
“Having a leader who is invested in your growth and supports you in your challenges is key to success.”
“I have had to overcome obstacles attributed to gender, race and age and am still faced with challenges today.”
Great insights from great women.
For me, I think the key to success has been a keen sense of curiosity and some level of fearlessness.
I attribute my persistence and intellectual confidence to my dad and husband, to a large degree. My dad started a lumber company after World War II which grew to commercial construction business over the decades. A true entrepreneur and one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He always believed in my abilities and wanted me to go into business with him — very unusual at the time. And my husband is also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, has always respected my intellect, and has always been proud of my accomplishments.
Confidence in my intellect has gone a long way.