Note: I recently gave a speech at the North Carolina Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club about the idea of “Superwoman,” “having it all” and, as a mentor, what advice I would give to young women who must make conscious choices with lasting consequences. Since the meeting, I have been contacted several times by business leaders, film producers and other candidates hoping to obtain a transcript of my speech. As a result, I am publishing it in hopes that it inspires others. -Lindsey
“At three years old I pulled my Fisher Price table set into the center of the room during a family get together, climbed atop and proceeded to boldly, and defiantly, give my first (& incomprehensible) speaking engagement. If you ask me, I am almost positive I was speaking on the economy, ways to balance budgets and more than likely slipped some nap time negotiations in there, but my mother remembers it as the first glimpse into what she knew would be a confident & independent young woman.
Since then I have been a consecutive keynote marketing speaker in front of thousands including the likes of Pepsi, Red Bull, Coca Cola, and some of the world’s most recognized brands. At 25 years old, after the company I worked for was acquired twice in 1.5 years, I turned down a long-term contract, moved back to Raleigh, bought a house and started my own company – a full service marketing agency focused on empowering brands in the new digital age.
Since my first “speaking engagement” at three years old I have learned a lot; and the beautiful thing is that I have so much more ahead of me to learn. I’ve learned that navigating the world we live in is both exhilarating and terrifying, and I have learned very quickly that there are expectations. When I first told my close friends, family and colleagues that I was quitting a job that provided me opportunities to travel, a comfortable lifestyle and the means of stability via a contract… they thought I was crazy. I seemingly “had it all.” By society’s expectations I was lucky as a young female to have a managerial role in a fortune 500 company. My next steps would be to go with the flow, and as I was jokingly told several times by my male peers, “get married, settle down and be taken care of financially.”
I am excited to be here tonight if only to be able to tell other young women one thing: do not let society’s expectations hinder your drive. I have only scratched the surface on the idea of superwoman and “having it all,” but I encourage you to ask no one else but yourself what “having it all” really means. The decisions you made yesterday, will make today and will face in the future impact only who YOU are or want to be. My advice would be to face those decisions head on, don’t be afraid to mess up and always remember, as cliché as it sounds, that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you decide to react.
I can guarantee these women that they will face adversities. During my corporate tenure I had the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows. I flew several times seated next to our CEO exchanging ideas on the corporate jet, but I was also referred to as “the shiny new toy,” told that females didn’t advance within my newly acquired corporate structure and, during a closed door session, using football as an analogy to my career told that I was a great star player, but would never be the coach by a counterpart after the same job.
I would tell young women [and all young careerists] that their decisions on how to retort to these inevitable creeds will have lasting consequences on their futures; and I would hope to bestow on them the confidence to use these as learning experiences that will only catapult them as successful women and human beings. If I can leave you with one thought it would be that YOU are the coach of your life, not just the star player and that I hope whenever you’re given the opportunity to stand firm on your platform, whether it’s a Fisher Price table or keynote marketing stage, that you never let anyone else make decisions for you.”