I can still remember when my former Board Chair (and past Women of Excellence award recipient), Ann DiSarro, called me and said, “We want to nominate you for Women of Excellence this year.” My first response wasn’t “Thank you”, it was, “Are you sure? Maybe you can wait another couple years.” We are our own worst enemies, aren’t we? Doubting ourselves. Thinking we’re not ready. Thinking we’re not worth something. Thank God for strong women in our lives who believe in us and see the magic and impact we have on others!
I can still remember when Ann sent me the letters of recommendation that accompanied my application. She told me to hold on to them and save them for whenever I was having a bad day, or doubting myself. They were written by my other Board members, also past Women of Excellence award recipients. Those letters were award enough for me. To have women I respected immensely write the letters they wrote…that alone will always mean the world to me.
I can still remember when Ann called me to tell me that I was going to be the 2014 Women of Excellence award recipient in the category of Emerging Professional. I was in shock and couldn’t believe this was the conversation I was having. I thought about the years sitting in the crowd of over 600 people at the annual Women of Excellence luncheon, being inspired by their speeches, leaving energized like I, too, could change the world, and hoping that one day I would be considered “excellent enough” to receive that award.
Receiving the Women of Excellence award impacted my life in more ways that I can ever share on paper or in a blog post. It is meaningful to me because I was chosen by past Women of Excellence award recipients, my peers, to receive this award. I still to this day do not know who was on that clandestine selection committee that year. I became extremely close with the other women in my WOE class, and they have celebrated milestones in my life, including throwing me a gender reveal lunch when I was pregnant with my daughter. They are Carmela’s aunties and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I learned how to show appreciation to the people in my life who helped support, lift me up, and make me the person I am today, but also how to give myself permission to show appreciation to myself for all the hard work I put into my life and career to become this person and be deserving of this award. Lastly, I learned how to say “thank you” because as the wise Benita Zahn told all of us, “When people say congratulations, say ‘thank you’. Don’t say, ‘oh it’s nothing’ because it diminishes the award for everyone who has received it in the past and will receive it in the future. You earned it. Be proud!”