By Christine George
I was a newcomer at the 2019 WomanUP!® Conference. After watching this group build momentum and gain traction, thanks to the leadership of Sara Sutachan and Debra Trappen, I knew that our company, Leading Edge, and I needed to be a part of it.
For more than 20 years, I worked in corporate environments always doing my best to fit in by doing and saying what I thought I was supposed to do and say.
Many days the work seemed secondary to my need and desire to position myself appropriately to gain the respect of my (mostly male) managers and peers. Of course over the years and with lots of practice, I learned how to navigate what Valerie Alexander calls "a male-designed workplace" while never feeling like I was being completely true to myself.
As the old saying goes, with age comes wisdom, and in my case with motherhood comes a shift in priorities. Five years ago, after working on the corporate side of the real estate industry for 7 years, I found my place inside a real estate brokerage that values collaboration, new ideas, and aligns with my values.
If not for the support of Leading Edge and the alignment of our values, I may never have said YES to WomanUP!®
The WomanUP!® movement is coming at the right time. It certainly wouldn’t have worked 20 years ago and I’m not sure it would have floated even 10 years ago. Today, our political and cultural environment, the younger millennial generation, and the inspiration of women leaders like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Melinda Gates, Michelle Obama and Brené Brown are demanding it.
The 2019 WomanUP!® conference demonstrated what I’ve known in my heart my entire career. Not only is there room for women leaders in our industry and in business as a whole, but there is also a need to change how we lead- which is with vulnerability, empathy, compassion, transparency, and integrity, and it is women who can and will create that change.
The 70+ women leaders that took the stage in San Diego bravely told their stories demonstrating what wholehearted leadership looks like and sounds like. In those moments, I, like all the women in that room, felt connected. It is connection that creates empathy and empathy is the key to making the change in our work.
I am personally really excited to continue to support the WomanUP! mission and to create the kind of excitement and connection in New England when we bring it here in 2020.