As I strive for work life balance, I've come to accept I can't be everywhere I want to be. Last week, I had to miss an event I was looking forward to attending for a family funeral. But fortunately, I have a wonderful community of people who I can rely on to fill me and you in on what we miss. My guest blogger today, Dina Allende, attended The Commonwealth Institute's Top-50 Women-Led Businesses awards luncheon and shares the helpful insights she took away from the event.
Dina Allende is founder of Clique PR & Marketing in Miami and has more than 20 years experience providing public relations services to clients including those in the travel, hospitality, food & beverage and entertainment industries.
As a Hispanic female entrepreneur, I work hard to make a difference, and often I find myself emulating some of the women I've come to meet through The Commonwealth Institute South Florida (TCI), comprised of women entrepreneurs and high level corporate executives.
When Donna Abood, chairman of Colliers South Florida – a real estate business – came to the podium, I didn’t think I’d have much in common with her. Come to find out that she’s a woman who has come full circle in her industry after hitting rock bottom with the recession between 2008 and 2012. Abood found herself having to restructure her business. That turned out to be the biggest blessing of all, because she realized that she really loved what she was doing. She was inspired by the love and ethics of one man — her father. He only had a high school education, but rose above it all to make something of himself. That vision of her father reminded her “why” she was doing what she was doing.
Like Abood, I also found myself restructuring my career during the recession, and I often focused on my parent’s achievements, particularly my father who was an American Diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service. As a result, I developed a passion for my career in public relations, and today, I consider my boutique agency to be one of the good ones. During difficult times, Abood says, “remember where you came from and hold onto that, and do what makes you happy or adjust.”
By the time, Pam Swensen came around, I was feverishly taking notes. When else would I get such great advice by so many powerful women under the same roof? As the CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, Pam has managed to take her non-profit organization to the list of Top-10 Non-Profits in Florida. During her speech, Swensen put up a little, white golf ball and said it was a crystal ball. She said it was a connector and opened doors. “Knowing the game would set you apart from your competitor,” she said, “After all, golf has been widely accepted as a venue for conducting business and men have been doing it for years.” She’s right, and that got me thinking — why not have that added skill set as part of my business repertoire. As Swensen put it – You are the CEO of your career!
The most touching moment for me was when Jodi Cross, TCI Florida’s executive director, addressed the crowd one final time with her parting words of wisdom. After nine years of service with TCI, Cross plans to pursue other avenues. There are three key messages that Jodi Cross gave that I will walk away with. They may sound like a given, but more often than not, we tend to forget. During challenging times, she said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep it real. Be fearless!”