Meeting Carly and Stedman

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, gave a key note speech at the final day of the eWomen Network conference in Dallas. She shared personal stories of her humble beginnings in the business world, about the challenges she faced early on as a young career woman in a man’s world and her insightful perspectives on what leadership means. She describes leadership as seeing and seizing possibilities and helping others to do the same. She mentioned that it’s about helping people face and overcome fear. And it’s about making change happen. According to her, change is driven by leaders and is powered by collaboration, which is why Carly says, women are natural born leaders.

Not only was her talk inspirational and thought-provoking, it also rang true with authenticity and courage as she spoke from the heart. I look forward to reading her memoir “Tough Choices” to learn more about this amazing female leader.

Stedman Graham also spoke to us this morning on building a personal brand. It all starts with really knowing who you are first and living according to that (not by what others label you – he shared in his case he was labeled with self-defeating thoughts growing up in a community that didn’t think he’d go far and now days being referred to as “Oprah’s boyfriend!”). He had some pearls of wisdom to share about making sure to fill your own well first before being able to fully give of yourself. In fact, he had asked Oprah if she could share some advice with the group. So he whipped out his Blackberry and read to us word for word an e-mail she sent him from South Africa telling us that she was replenishing her own well by spending time with the girls at her Leadership Academy!

Stedman was gracious during the book signing making it a point to shake everyone’s hand and being very present with each and every woman who stood in the long line to meet him. I picked up his book “Diversity: Leaders not Labels” and am excited to read his perspective on moving beyond race toward more collaboration and appreciation of the uniqueness we all bring.

[tags]eWomen Network, Carly Fiorina, Stedman Graham, book signing, conference[/tags]

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