Today’s guest post is by Doretha Walker. Doretha is a former president of the Charleston, SC Center for Women  Board of Directors, runs marathons, is a professor, and blogs at Doretha provides inspiration and information to support women so they can fly to their own success.


women proud of their storyI did myself a grave injustice the other day at the Charleston, SC Women in Business Conference, Pathways to Power.

First, let me say that I hate speed networking. So when it was time to do it, I allowed myself 36 seconds of my allotted two-minute time.

Okay, I didn’t want to be there so I didn’t fully participate.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have two minutes worth of merits. I mean, in my current position, I lead a locomotive crew. Plus, I established a foundation that helps women fund their dreams. I’ve met Oprah. And I promise you it takes longer than 36 seconds to read my resume.

What was I thinking???

There is a saying that you may be the only Bible (or holy book) that someone will read today. Well, your two minute speed networking speech may be the only resume someone will read today. I gave myself 36 seconds of airplay. So why should I expect anyone at my networking table to think I was worthy of more? They may have wondered why I was even at the table.

I missed a multitude of opportunities. I earned my journey and I have a right, no, I have an obligation to share it. It may inspire someone else.

Hoda Kotb wrote in her book that a man sitting next to her on a plane said something like don’t hog your journey. It isn’t meant just for you. In other words, many need to see where you are going and understand how to get there so they may do the same.

I think Marianne Williamson said it beautifully “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.”

Isn’t that what we as leaders strive to do – inspire, encourage, and uplift while accomplishing the mission?

Women getting in their own way

Not only did I miss the chance to inspire, I lost the chance to have a door opened to something had someone been looking for what I had to offer. But I offered nothing while I had plenty to offer.

I think this is called self-sabotage.

As leaders, we have earned our stripes and some of us have the battle scars to prove it. Our accomplishments are what brought us to the table and to the position of leader.

Understand that telling others how we arrived at our present destination is not bragging. It is simply charting the milestones that paved the way to our successes. It is our road map. That map may be traditional or it might be a bit scenic, but it is ours. It is ours to share. It is ours to be proud of.

Understand that telling others how we arrived at our present destination is not bragging Click To Tweet

So remember, people need to know why you are at the table or why you are the leader. You are there for a reason; and if you don’t believe that, why should anyone else? Do not follow my lead and short change yourself.

Share your journey.

You are worth at least two minutes of airplay.

Take it.

And you can bet that I will be fully present and accounted for during my next speed networking session.