As a child of immigrants, a U.S. transplant, and a woman of color, I understand inequality and marginalization personally and deeply. Propeller’s Propel Her program is about building bridges to empower women from all walks of life, to impact them personally and professionally. Additionally, our aim is to give back to our community – something that resonates strongly with my core principles.
As co-lead of the Propel Her initiative in our San Francisco office, it has been one of my greatest pleasures to bring together women from different points of their career, various industries and ethnicities, to learn from each other. It has been a remarkable experience to meet amazing, accomplished women and attract them to Propeller. As a team, we worked to develop dynamic panels that create small intimate interactive sessions to provide insight and encouragement to our audience.
To kickstart our Propel Her planning in 2020, my partner in planning, Ashley Stuparich and I decided that with a new year and a new decade, it was a perfect opportunity to take our audience on a journey to not only review the goals they would have set last year, 3 years ago or even 5 years ago, but to also help guide them through the process of resetting those goals where necessary. We thought it would be powerful to have our dynamic panelists help attendees devise personal strategies to overcome roadblocks and successfully implement their goals for 2020 & beyond. We focused on three topic areas: Career Pathing, Health & Wellness, and Financial Planning.
Our panel for the Reflect and Reset event featured:
- Lauren Lightbody, Propeller, focused on your authentic self
- Shannon Morse, Greendoor Life, speaking on health and wellness
- Marina Rayman, Blackrock, personal finance
- Adhanet Ghebrey, Blackrock, financial education
- Deborah Briant, Hult International Business School, guidance on career and personal journeys
After introductions, we broke into small groups for intimate conversations, each led by one panelist. I enjoyed surveying the room and participating in discussions. There were a number of conversations, and pieces of advice from our panelists that resonated with me that I wanted to share below:
- Lauren Lightbody shared how you don’t have to have a firm idea of what your dream job is to start on a path to getting there. Taking inventory not only of your skills but also on what gives you energy and makes you happy is a critical first step. It’s important to think of that journey as not always a linear one -- find those mentors who can guide you through the twists and turns.
- You’ll be most successful in starting new habits when you enjoy yourself, and pair the new habit with something you love. Shannon Morse shared this life hack and I’ve found it to be true myself as I pair socializing and sports by playing basketball several times a week.
- Exercise and movement are a form of self-respect. When we cancel a workout or an appointment, we’re cancelling on ourselves. Thanks for that perspective, Shannon!
- Create a money minute! Marina Raymen takes one minute each morning to review her financial accounts and that keeps her spending habits top of mind throughout the day.
- Marina Raymen also reminded us that we must maximize any match our company offers. Don’t walk away from free money!
- Start your self-education. There are plenty of online and free options, such as Yahoo Finance, that provide a lot of information. Adhanet Ghebrey encouraged us to start there and not feel that we need to be a financial wizard to be involved in our personal finances.
- Don’t compare our journey to others. I know many of us have heard that before, but it struck a chord for me when Deborah Briant encouraged the group to look at our own happiness and potential as we assess our career goals.
As another successful Propel Her event concluded, and I watched our attendees and panelists mingle, and share contact information, I was once again reminded how important and powerful building your tribe in your community is. Every time we pay forward the lessons we have learned in life and share our wisdom, we help close the gender gap. The pie is big enough for everyone, as we all have something special to offer. We just need to be open to allow everyone a seat at a table to bring their unique selves. You never know who the next person to change the world will be!
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