June was crazy busy in Doyenne Group land! So much so that I started quoting my friend Rebecca Ryan’s automatic email response of “my hair is on fire” when people would ask me what Doyenne was up to.

We have some super exciting news that we cannot wait to tell everyone, but can’t release yet…

Doyenne also had a June Connect Event, our 2nd Doyenne Retreat of 2016 and released the presenters for our August 24 5x5x5 competition.

While there’s always a ton of professional events to attend and vacation time we all try to work around during summer, I was feeling extra overwhelmed for some reason. When I started to sit back and reflect on why I was feeling extra stress I realized it was because I had a presentation coming up for a local event called DisruptHR Madison, and I…Was..Nervous! Public speaking has never been something that I look forward to or feel I am very good at, and I admire those who enjoy being up on stage and can put words together so eloquently and make it seem so easy, like they’re having a conversation between friends instead of a room full of eyes and ears focused on your every word.

My topic for the DisruptHR Madison event was “The Impact of Women Leaving the Workforce” and I have to admit, when I originally agreed to present on that topic I had just finished reading yet another report on women being mistreated in the workplace, and I was fired up!

But, fast forward 6 weeks to when it was early June and it was go time of having to put my slides together, I was at a lost of what I wanted to say and what had me so fired up back when I said yes to it.

It was in that moment that I realized I had been given the opportunity to be the voice for all those conversations I have with the women Doyenne works with who tell me why what Doyenne does and stands for is so important. This was a chance for me to give voice and present a way to create change. I knew I couldn’t waste the opportunity.

I spent the next two full days (I don’t know what I was thinking when I only budgeted 2.5 hours on my calendar) putting together my slides and scribbling out an outline for what I wanted to say. I had drafts upon drafts and kept going back and forth in my head of Should I say that? and Is this going to piss too many people off if I say this? in my head. Instead of crossing out whatever I had wrote to make me think those thoughts, instead I told myself #SorryNOTSorry and #BeAudacious (the phrase we use to describe Doyenne Group and our members)

Those hashtags became the slogans inside my head every time I would question myself, and #SorryNOTSorry became one of the images I put on a slide for my DisruptHR Madison presentation.

#SorryNOTSorry is a phrase that up until now I didn’t really like. But now I look at it differently, and instead of wanting to scroll right past someone’s post who uses #SorryNOTSorry I now want to say to the person posting STOP APOLOGIZING! When you write or say #SorryNOTSorry you’re still apologizing for being yourself, and that’s a problem.

Doyenne had our June Doyenne Retreat a couple week’s ago (we had an AMAZING time with 6 women business leaders!) and I practiced my presentation on them before heading to the event. Here we were, with me suppose to be helping them and they were right there supporting and empowering me as well.

I told them that my biggest fear was that I was going to get on stage and end up feeling like I was going to have to apologize for everything I had said because I had not stood up for the message I was delivering and not being confident in my delivery; or I really had irritated everyone by saying what I had said. The Retreat participants empowered me by reminding me to believe in the #SorryNOTSorry and #BeAudacious; don’t be afraid to be me, and to remember that my voice was more than just mine, it was all of their’s as well.

I carried those words with me and even started my DisruptHR Madison presentation mentioning how I was representing women everywhere while up on that stage that night. I’m not going to lie, I was still nervous. But I also started looking at the crowd and specifically the women in the room, many of whom were Doyenne Members and Community Supporters, all nodding along with me and smiling. They were all believers of the #SorryNOTSorry & #BeAudacious and empowered to be themselves. The men in the room were also nodding, many of them came up to me afterwards and thanked me for what I had said and expressed how sometimes just calling out the crap women deal with helps them acknowledge the problem and creates a conversation for change within the workplace.

I bring up this topic for a couple reasons; 1. You are enough, 2. You are legit at what you do and 3. listening to that voice inside your head is usually right. Once you believe in yourself, accept and understand your strengths and weaknesses and stop tolerating all the bullshit you put up with, all the other pieces will fall into place and you’ll be able to also believe in the #SorryNOTSorry and #BeAudacious at whatever you set your mind to.

I hope to see you around town soon!