Wednesday, February 11, 2009

85 Broads

Reinvention.


That was the conversation at the 85 Broads Power Breakfast I attended Tuesday. I did not know when I signed up that the subject was the one I blog about. It was the first event I had attended since I became a member. I had joined to network and had come to the breakfast to network. I did not know I had also come to be inspired.

I had been introduced to 85 Broads by my friend Nancy Moon. Moon is a savvy PR pro who is always wired into what is going on. So when I asked, wasn’t this just for Wall Street women, she knew that they had been on an expansion to include women in other industries. 85 Broads, founded by Janet Hanson, is now 18,000 women globally.

So I followed her lead, filled out the membership application and kept my fingers crossed I would get accepted. I did.

Which is how I came to be at sitting at AJ Maxwell’s on Tuesday morning eating scrambled eggs and fruit salad.

The energy in the room was decidedly different than it was outside. It was positive. The enthusiasm of the women was evident. This is hard to come by these days as the sky is said to be falling in New York. I didn’t know that was just the beginning. You see, under the list of benefits to membership is that this network will make you feel empowered. And that is what they proceeded to do.

Janet Hanson welcomed the group, reminding everyone that when you are reinventing it is important that you surround yourself with those who are brave. She then introduced two such women Alison Levine, founder of DareDevil Strategies and the Climb High Foundation and Kristen M. Fox, Founder and Principle of FoxInspires LLC.

Both women believe in reinventing yourself every three years. Which puts me a little behind as I am now working on #3 of a lifetime. They both believe that you really have to love what you are doing. Passion is everything. I am good here. I am without a doubt doing what I love. And they are both believers that fear is part of the process and a good thing. OK. I experience fear ALL the time. I like the idea of embracing it.

What struck me the most were two things that Alison Levine suggested. One was that what puts you at the greatest risk is complacency. The second that you have to believe you are going to make it. There is no choice.

I have attended many such networking events over the years. I felt a difference with this group immediately when I walked in the room. Here amidst all the craziness in the world was a group of women who know they are going to make it and are smart enough to surround themselves with women who believe the same thing.

85 Broads was originally founded by Janet Hanson in 1997. It was named as such because the original group of woman all worked for Goldman Sachs at 85 Broad Street. One of the benefits it lists of membership is feeling empowered. I left feeling exactly that, empowered and as Janet Hanson said in her opening remarks, surrounded by women who are brave.


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