In March, Paul McConaughy, encouraged me to submit my story to The Hot Mommas Case Study competition. Founded by Kathy Korman-Frey, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the George Washington School of Business, the Hot Mommas project is the world's largest women’s case study library, providing free online access to stories of diverse female role models and mentors.
The judges were:
Lesley Jane Seymour, Editor in Chief of MORE Magazine;
Maryam Banikarim, Chief Marketing Officer of Gannett;
Diane Tomb, President and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners;
Ellen Thrasher, Head of the Small Business Association’s Office of Entrepreneurship;
Princess Fay Al Jahan Ara, President of the RACH Charity Foundation
Katherine Johnson, former Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing for the Oprah Winfrey Network.
And then I won the Schwab Financial Literacy Award.
Which I am very happy about.
Here's what I've learned.
1) Sponsors do make a difference.
Without Paul's gentle, firm nudge, the implication being that I had something to say, I would not have carved out several hours on a Saturday afternoon to write this case/story.
2) Telling a story that makes proper meaning can require years of gestation and iteration.
My friend Chrysula Winegar and I discussed submitting cases several years ago. I never did. In part because I didn't feel like my story would be all that instructive. It's only been with time, and in the telling (and re-telling) that I have something to say.
3) Sometimes it's good to look back.
Twenty-five years ago no one wanted to hire me, so I did what a disruptor would do — I walked onto Wall Street through the secretarial back door. Now the Schwab Financial Literacy Award. I spend a lot of time looking at what I haven't accomplished yet. Sometimes it's good to look at what I have done.
I spent so many of my formative years playing dumb, it's nice to finally admit I am smart.