Has a conversation ever changed your life? We’re willing to bet the answer is YES.
It’s no secret that here at RAIR, we value inclusivity and the strength of women in leadership. That’s why at every key point in our business, we include their expertise and knowledge in executive roles (read about our team here!) Though we celebrate women’s history all year long, we were especially excited to put together this panel discussion to benefit Michigan Women Forward, an organization that supports and expands economic opportunities for women and entrepreneurs of color.
The conversation that followed wasn’t just an opportunity for solidarity and connection between a group of intelligent, accomplished professionals; it was also a learning experience for attendees and a hotbed of sage advice that we’d like to share with you! Scroll to find what resonates with you–which piece of advice is most timely for you?
PICK YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES
Molly McFadden, Director of Retail Operations at RAIR, said that one of her best tips in achieving work-life balance (if such a thing exists) is to “Pick your non-negotiables.” What are your key personal values, and could you place them in a hierarchy if you tried? Choosing at least one thing you refuse to budge on can help you to not only feel more in control of your life but also more aligned with your personal and professional mission. For Molly, that was making sure that she carved out some decompression every day with a real and uninterrupted lunch break.
NOT EVERYONE HAS TO LIKE YOUR DECISIONS
A political career, motherhood, and life-long residency in Muskegon, Michigan has taught Kim Sims that it simply isn’t necessary for women to seek the approval of everyone around them. Society may often make us feel as though we’re not capable of executing with acumen, but that’s a lie, and one we’re working on overturning every day as women become more and more comfortable wielding power. “As long as I could sleep at night with my decision, I was good,” Kim asserted. She also added there was “no sense in being at the table if you have no power.” That advice serves as a great reminder to those of us who might struggle with “imposter syndrome” as one guest at the event mentioned. Are you second-guessing yourself too much?
POWER: IS IT MORE IMPORTANT HOW YOU DON’T USE IT?
For Andrea Rose, the first-ever female President of Business Operations for the Muskegon Lumberjacks, utilizing professional power means knowing when to pass the mic. “Power to me: it’s more important how you don’t use it, versus how you do use it,” she said, describing her leadership at work. Andrea credits much of her success to her strong sense of ethics and values, and one of those beliefs is that it's important to trust others and allow them the time and space to be heard. Because history has shown us that often, the voices of women and marginalized people go unheard, we know it is imperative to elevate their voices. We are thankful for women in leadership who understand and value those truths!
WE NEED TO STOP APOLOGIZING SO MUCH
We can’t forget to recognize the simple and truthful wisdom shared by our event’s moderator Meisha Brown, an active member of the Muskegon community who originally hails from New York City. In her service to the community, she advocates for women taking up more space and fulfilling their dreams, and she’s tired of hearing them say “I’m sorry” for realizing their goals. That’s the kind of energy we all need to bring into our lives! It’s one thing to make reparations for wrongdoing, and entirely another to apologize for building the life you desire. After all, so many others have enjoyed that privilege!
RAIR would like to thank our wonderful panelists and event organizers for creating such an engaging conversation! We’d also like to thank our guests for asking provocative questions that inspire us all to be bold, and do better (especially when that means believing in ourselves more.) It’s time to get out there and LEAD LIKE A WOMAN!