This July, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a delegate of Dress for Success Vancouver's Professional Women's Group (PWG) for the 9th annual Success Summit. It is a Dress For Success Leadership Conference for women, hosted by Kimpton Hotels in Miami, Florida. I had the privilege of meeting other delegates from Dress For Success branches around the world, who will all be leading their groups in creating community action projects (CAP) over the next year in their respective locations.
|Genevieve Sechter, PWG Member|
Over the next couple of days, we got to hear from a host of inspirational women, including two of the delegates with the most successful projects from last year. They shared their journeys, triumphs, struggles and general project models with us. It was very inspiring. What struck me the most was that anytime something is really worthwhile you are going to want to quit. You and people around you are going to come up with so many reasons why something is not possible, but that does not need to stop you. In simple terms, it was said, “You are going to want to quit. Don't.” These delegates were the most surprised by themselves and how willing people were to help them when they asked.
By the end of the weekend I definitely had one of those, “If I knew then what I know now” perspectives. All of my concerns walking into the weekend were completely unnecessary. I was the right lady for this. I belonged. I could do it. Knowing you are not alone is a powerful thing. I was affirmed and validated again and again by the speakers, the delegates and the coordinators. As they shared their stories I certainly did pick out threads of mine and shared the mutual shock with other delegates who said, “It was like she was telling my story.” One of the most important things I took away was that anything is possible, we do not need to be defined by our present or past circumstances. I've always believed that, but it was a different thing when I was in a room full of women who are at different places on that very journey, and many of them have been right in my shoes at one time or another.
My CAP is an embryo right now, but here's what I know. I want to use the arts to bring healing and celebration to people. This could take many different forms, including a one day event with follow up, a weekend, or a 12 week evening program. My first step will be to launch a vision for my PWG and get their feedback. Once I have a team on board we can brainstorm the details, secure resources and get started! My initial decisions will involve which community of people to offer this gift to, whether to partner with an organization(s) or whether to secure required components independently, as well as which parts to handle myself and what to delegate. I chose this topic because the arts have been an integral part of my personal journey of healing, starting with acting and dancing roles in biblical plays as a young teenager, and painting and poetry in my later teen years. Through art, going deep can seem like playing, and sometimes it is. If you are an artist that would like to contribute a workshop or if you have a space that you would be willing to donate or any other ideas to offer, please comment below or find me on Facebook and send me a message.
Dress for Success Vancouver