When you look at the above picture, what do you see? Seriously, what do you see?
On the surface level, many see a group of women of varying colours, of different ages, and based on their choice of clothing, it may be assumed that they are professional women. That’s true – but not the whole truth.
So then, what is the truth about this group of women in the photo?
Let’s find out…
I am honoured to have been handpicked to attend the first annual Accelerate Her Future Summit (AHF) in Toronto, Ontario. AHF gathered women of colour in college and university business and tech programs from across the GTA who are looking to invest in their long term career development. It was a day filled with amazing speakers and mentors who invested their time, valuable insights, and encouragement into the next generation of business and tech women leaders.
So then, what do I see in this photo?
- I see a generation of trailblazing women of colour, who have gone ahead to pave the way for the next generation of women.
- I see women who possess a wealth of potential on the inside, and are taking the necessary steps to ensure that they are armed with the necessary weaponry to combat the warfare of the global competitive space in tech and business.
As Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Neuro-Life Coach Karlyn Percil said, “Something magical is happening among women of colour.” Indeed. This is true. Expectancy, and enthusiasm permeated the room and was palpable among all the women present. It was nothing short of spectacular from the warm welcome, potent speakers, and knowledgeable mentors.
Key takeaways include:
“The water you drink will never flow past you.” (This is actually the meaning of the name of my mentor at the event, Amena). In other words, whatever it is that belongs to you cannot be not for you. Get it? No one can take it away from you! You don’t have to be envious, filled with jealousy, and be deceptive to accomplish your goals. Maintain your integrity, stay true to your core beliefs, and of course, keep showing up – you will be rewarded in due time. You get to redefine success.
Let yourself take up ALL the space. You only need permission from yourself to be great. There is room for all your greatness and even the seemingly awkward things about you. While taking up space, learn to talk about yourself. Not in an arrogant, narcissistic manner, but own your story, because it is yours to tell and it is valid. Be exceptionally proud of where you come from.
Be specific and persistent about what you want. It may be scary at first, but the more specific you are, the more all in you go. In the process, if you encounter failure (I prefer to say I have encountered a strategy that does not support my goal), pivot fast, and don’t let it eat you up.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Be aware of the narrative and chatter in your head. As a young woman from the beautiful island of Jamaica, I sometimes encounter comments that are stemming from what may be an ignorant mindset as it pertains to the perception of “island people.” Karlyn Percil reminded me that being from the island does not diminish my intelligence. I was encouraged to create a definition of myself that is rooted in the brilliance of who I am.
Finally, we were encouraged to Lead Loudly: If you see something, say something. Come to the table with your own menu and bring your whole self to your place of work. Always remember to handle every situation with professionalism and grace. Craft your winning statement every week and every month.
I left this circle of women full. Very full. I am still taking it all in! They say the world always make way for the woman who knows what she wants. I am a young woman. I know what I want. I endeavor to create that golden impact as predestined by my Creator. I am eager to discover the horizons that await me.
Thank you for birthing this vision, Dr. Golnaz Golnaraghi, and thanks to the AHF team for a day etched in my mind for years to come.