By: Suzanne Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Social Impact Architects and 2014 Young Professional Leadership ATHENA Award® Winner
Last year, I was honored by the Dallas Regional Chamber to receive the Young Professional Leadership ATHENA Award®. It was one of the proudest moments of my professional career. In my acceptance speech, I shared one of my favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt. The quote inspires me, and, as I discovered after last year’s ceremony, many of the other women in the audience as well:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Receiving the ATHENA Award® represented more than an accolade to me – it represented the dream we all share to make a difference in Dallas. Over the past year, it has given me even more courage to support women as we “dare greatly.” To do this, I have developed my own formula, which includes:
SHOW UP – It is easy to live a comfortable life, but real growth comes from being uncomfortable and showing up every day. Whatever dream you have, it is possible if you just show up.
SPEAK OUT – Each of us has a unique voice, and it needs to be heard. Find a cause you care about, learn everything you can about it, and speak out. I’m convinced that if we all did this small thing in a respectful manner that big change would happen.
SUPPORT OFTEN – Success is not the goal – significance should be our end game. It is achieved through helping others achieve their potential. It is easy to tear people down, but we should be building each other up. When you see brilliance and bravery, support it early and often.
I encourage you to “dare greatly” by recognizing the women in your life that show up, speak out, and support you. You can nominate them for an ATHENA Award® and/or post on your Facebook/Twitter (#DallasAthena) page about the impact they have on your life.
The ATHENA Award® is a national program that recognizes the accomplishments of local businesswomen in their profession and community. ATHENA Award® nominees are distinguished business leaders who have achieved excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way, and assisted women in reaching their full leadership potential.
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