Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019

Last month I had the opportunity to host a roundtable discussion with twelve remarkable women who are leaders in our community. 

Unlike most roundtables, this event did not include an agenda. There were no cards with talking points or conversation starters on the table. There were no materials sent to the attendees ahead of the event in an effort to have them come “prepared.” Instead, the conversation was meant to develop organically and go in whatever direction the group would take it. For me, the result was like a tonic.

12@12 Women in Business Group 2019

For one hour, our group shared personal examples of the struggle to strike the ever-elusive work-life balance in a world that is moving too fast. We infused humor during those really honest moments when we talked about our roles in the workplace often morphing from boss to mom to friend and back to boss again. In truth, many of us embrace those roles as we mentor young women, or as we step in to lighten the load for an overwhelmed coworker. We learned in that hour that, while we were a very diverse group working in many different industries, our experiences were often the same. Simply, that we chose over and over again to support, encourage, and champion those around us.

Near the end of our hour, we realized that one need resonated throughout the group. We need to create more opportunities to just get together. Times that we set aside to talk and laugh and lament the challenges we face every day with others that just “get it” is so important.  

In my own workplace, I am surrounded by remarkable women as well. 

They are avid listeners who support our entire team and share in the hard work of business. At times I am sure they feel as though their own roles shift from friend to mom to boss, but I get a sense that they embrace it just as gracefully as the outstanding women gathered together for the roundtable discussion.

This year I plan to be more intentional with my time for my own personal and professional growth. And marvel in the truth that a cup of coffee with a colleague can be the greatest leadership training there is.

Cathy Edwards