A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be the opening key note speaker at Thrive in NYC. It was an honor to be asked to speak to an audience of hundreds of women who are working to make an impact in the world by using their gifts and talents to serve.
I wanted to share with you a recap of the event.
I spoke Friday night at the opening VIP party. Kind of a way to kick the whole weekend off. It was hosted at Le Pif Wine Bar in Chelsea. I had the chance to meet the owner-- a beautiful woman named Humyera who shared with me her story of immigrating to NYC from Turkey as a student in her early 20s. She and her husband have been here for the last 31 years and run two successful businesses in Manhattan. I love a good American Dream story!
There is a special place in my heart for people who leave the familiar and come to the United States for better opportunities for themselves and their families. It reminds me of my great-grandparents' stories-- coming here from Malta-- learning the language, and through hard work and persistence and tenacity built businesses and supported their families. On one side, my great-grandfather built a furniture business in San Francisco, and on the other side, my great-grandfather owned a cattle ranch. They left a legacy of wanting a better life, of learning, and of building something from nothing. This really stirs in me, and I can't help but feel it's because it's been passed down to me genetically through DNA.
Not at all a coincidence, but God at work, Nick and I were able to get tickets to Hamilton. (If you heard episode 1 of Pay Attention, I was geeking out about that).
Alexander Hamilton's story is not that unlike my great-grandfather's or even Humyera's. He came to the USA as a young student from Nevis (where Nick and I honeymooned!) and hustled his way to becoming one of our Founding Fathers in the USA.
And his story is not unlike the students I'm so called to serve. Many of them are first-generation Americans, and if not, they are lit with a fire within that says they need to make something from nothing. That they have a dream to pursue. That they have people they want to serve by shining their lights and using their talents and walking a path true to them, true to the gifts God had given them. This is what I loved most about being a classroom teacher-- helping young people find what makes their hearts sing, and then helping them find the courage to pursue that.
I wanted my keynote to reflect this essence. I wanted it to empower and inspire the women in that room to be brave enough to walk the path that's been laid before them with courage and to use their gifts to make an impact in the world.
It was my intention to not make the talk so much about me and my story, but about how we can make our own dreams come true by serving others. Literally-- we rise by lifting others.
One of the things I mentioned in the talk was that every leader's job is to shorten the distance for someone a few steps behind them, helping them get from where they are to where they want to go.
In this same vein, being a leader of integrity means that you do what you say, you say what you mean, you under-promise, over-deliver, surprise and delight the people you meet along the way because being in business is really ALL about the people you serve. This is what I strive to do every single day while building Compliment.
Are we perfect? Nope. We make mistakes just like every human. But we always ask for the opportunity to make it right.
To watch the speech, click here.