Here’s to the Self-Doubters.
The ones who are brimming with ideas but never see them fully come to light.
The ones who are smart and talented yet are not quite living up to their potential.
The ones who have so much to say but don’t know how to say it.
The ones who want to be heard but fear that no one will listen.
The ones who are afraid of failure. Or afraid of success.
The ones who crave recognition but won’t step into the spotlight.
The ones who want to be leaders yet don’t want to look like self-promoters.
These are my peeps.
This is my tribe.
These have also been my issues.
After more than twenty-five years as an award-winning journalist, marketing writer, TV producer, communications strategist, social enterprise founder, event producer, corporate trainer, hip-hop café owner…yep I’ve worn a lot of hats! … it finally occurred to me that I had failed to build my own authority brand.
I have had opportunities to speak on international stages and appear in global media, but I never leveraged those opportunities to grow my brand or my business.
Why not? I could probably come up with all sorts of excuses, but it boils down to the fact that I am an introvert, (INFJ if you listen to Myers-Briggs), and it was always been easier for me to hide behind the work, allow others to speak and avoid the spotlight.
But I came to realize that to create the life and impact I desire, I needed to step into my own authority. And now knocking on 50, I’m chasing legacy as much as business.
My mission is to serve female founders, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and creatives who want to scale their income and impact by becoming recognized leaders in their fields.
I want to work with women because we remain under-represented in business, on boards, in government, in the media. Pretty much everywhere.
We’re doing the work but not always getting the recognition.
Some statistics hit me like a punch in the gut:
- Share of voice for women in Canada (where I live) is less than 20%
- Asian, Black and Hispanic women hold less than 4% of executive or management positions in the largest U.S. companies
- Only 2.2% of women founders attract venture capital for their business
- Of all global capital in the last decade, less than 0.06% has gone to women of color.
As an African woman who has spent much of her life in the West, I have a particular calling to women of color.
From my boarding school days in England, through my undergraduate years at Oxford University, to working as a financial journalist in New York, and even doing business in Canada today, I’ve known what it’s like to be “the only one in the room.”
To feel misunderstood. Underestimated. Overlooked.
To feel that you have to represent for more than just yourself.
Let’s be clear. Gender bias is real.
Institutional racism, sexism and class-ism are real.
But the bitter, staring-us-in-face, truth is also that many women are not showing up the way we should.
We’re not stepping up.
We’re shying away from the spotlight.
We’re not putting ourselves out there.
We’re unprepared for opportunities when they come.
And even the most accomplished women struggle with mindset.
Why should anyone listen to me?
Who am I to speak at this conference…write that book…be interviewed in this magazine?
Who am I to lead?
We’ve all been there.
But if there is any part of you that knows that you could do more, be more and have more impact, then it’s time to step into your authority or risk being forever unfulfilled.
If you have big dreams for your business, then you must stretch outside your comfort zone to achieve them.
If you want your work to make a difference in more lives, then you must stop playing small.
You need to establish and own your authority.
It’s Your Obligation
I believe that anyone who has enjoyed the advantage of a quality education and achieved a measure of professional or business success, has an obligation to pay it forward.
For women, especially women of color, paying it forward means standing up so that others can see you.
It means speaking up so that others can hear.
It means sharing your knowledge in a scalable, replicable way so that others can learn.
The world is waiting.
Let’s get you out there.