Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Importance of an Advocate

Today is the farewell soiree for my long-time boss, mentor and friend.  There is so much that I would like to say to her but I do not have the words.

This woman, whom I’ll refer to as Ms. Prada Manolo for her love of shoes, saw something in me from the day she hired me. I remember at my interview she came right out and said I was the frontrunner for the job.  I went home with my heart racing, hoping that I would be able to work for this firecracker of a woman.  Sharp as a tact and quick witted - a force to be reckoned with.  From my first day on the job, she acted as an advocate for me professionally and personally and 7 years later continues to do so.

As I sat in meeting after meeting marveling at her analytical skills, professional demeanor and unwavering confidence, I took many notes of how I could shape myself into even a fraction of a businessperson as impressive as she.

For the last 7 years, Prada Manolo pushed me to rise up to challenges that I didn’t even know I was able to meet. She taught me how to problem solve in the toughest of situations, even when it seemed like a successful solution was near impossible.  She taught me to always fake confidence it in meetings if I felt insecure, showing no fear, and then asking questions to confidants later to catch up on what was unknown.  She showed me how to reason with unreasonable people and how to keep perspective when things were seemingly out of control.  Her guidance, mentoring and advocacy have shaped my professional life.  I have achieved things I never thought possible, thanks to Ms. Prada Manolo.

But above all of the lessons learned, Ms. Prada M. helped to build my confidence.  Seeing things in me that I did not see at first, I opened myself to the idea that I was able to accomplish more. That I am able to accomplish anything I set my mind to.  This is not to be taken lightly, as many women in the workplace are inhibited when it comes to their own self confidence in their abilities.

I can not stress the importance of having an advocate in your life. Professionally, it is a necessity at your job. Find someone who believes in you and stick with them!  And then pay it forward - become an advocate for someone else who you know can shine.

Thank you to Ms. Prada Manolo, my life is forever changed for the better because of the time I spent with you. I do not know how to repay you but I hope to pay it forward and be equally as good of an leader and mentor for the next generation of women to follow.

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