Throughout my life, I’ve pondered much of what my family would look like, what my children would grow up to be and what my role would be in influencing them to be their best. This has been on my mind more recently as we are expecting our first child in three short months. I think of all the things she’ll be capable of accomplishing throughout her life. I think of what personal, academic and professional goals she’ll have. I also think of the obstacles she’ll encounter in striving for success. I think of the big responsibility her father and I have in helping her through each of these phases in her life. How will we cheer and motivate her when life seems to be perfect and when life seems to get hard. I consider myself quite young and even in my youth I’ve learned a lot about what it means to learn, to grow, to fail, and to succeed in both my personal life and professional career. If I could only offer three pieces of advice to my daughter or any other woman from my experiences, it would be the following:
You Can and You Will
The moment we found out we were expecting a girl we started calling her the boss lady. Boss lady can mean many things such as literally a boss or it can mean the way my husband and I interpret it; a woman who gets life done and in whatever capacity she chooses. Whether it’s at home or work, it doesn’t matter. I want my future boss lady and all women to know that you can become whoever you want. Your options are endless. Do not let society limit or tell you what roles you can play. Thanks to many women and women advocates, our nation has come a long way. Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, but don’t let that hold you back. Katherine Graham was the first female CEO in 1972 for The Washington Post. Linda G. Alvarado broke many barriers in history, as she was the first female to start her own construction firm in 1976 in what’s considered a highly male-dominated industry. In addition to this, she was the first Hispanic female to co-own a Major League Baseball team. As a woman, you are entitled to have a seat at the table and hard work and dedication will get you there. If others refuse to make space or don’t offer you a seat, do you really want to work or be a part of an organization that doesn’t value what you have to offer? I can tell you that a lot of other places will gladly take your talent and skills. Remember, you don’t have to wait to have a seat at the table. The beauty of being you is that you can create your own space and your own seat.
Embrace Being Different
Throughout my schooling, I was reminded repeatedly that the biggest asset of a product is its uniqueness. If you think about it, we can relate this to ourselves or others. As women in business, we bring different skills, qualities, and ideas to the table. People who embrace being different have been the ones that have created and innovated many successful products and businesses we use and see today. Marion Donovan, for example, invented waterproof diapers. Her idea was highly ridiculed and ignored. No one wanted to purchase her product, however, she did not let that stop her and continued on her own. She sold her product to Saks Fifth Avenue and a couple of years later sold her patents and company for a significant amount of money. She chose not to blend in, but to use her unique ideas and skills to create and innovate something amazing, something that billions have benefited from. It is important to know that not one person in this world is the same as another. That is what makes each one of us special; so, embrace it and speak up even if it means you must stand-alone.
You Will Fail and That’s Okay
There will come a time in your life where you will fail. How you react and what you do with your failures will shape the trajectory of your life going forward; so, choose wisely. As much as I wish being perfect and avoiding mistakes was possible, it is not. Failure is a part of human experience and human growth. I’ve failed in various stages of my personal, academic and professional life. All have been painful, and all have brought me to be whom and where I am today. Look at those failures as opportunities to learn, grow and make extraordinary changes. There will be times others will make you believe or make you feel like there is no way around a failure. Those individuals are typically the ones that have told you you’ve failed. Make sure you know who you are and where you stand. Don’t let others hinder your progress or growth. Surround yourself with people who cheer you on at the lowest and highest points of your life.
Women have an important role in businesses and society in general. We have come a long way over the years and there is still much more we need to do to close the gap. That is why it’s imperative that we as women realize the importance of embracing our differences, of not limiting ourselves and pushing through all obstacles that may come our way. There are many more learning experiences I have come across throughout my life, that if I wrote all of them in this article, it would likely never end. I know I will have plenty of hours, days, months and years to teach my daughter. Having the opportunity to raise a woman; a future boss lady, in whatever capacity she wants to be boss lady in is more than I could have ever asked for.
About our Guest Writer: Cristine Salazar
Cristine Salazar was born in California and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Utah. Besides owning 2 businesses of her own, she also has 13 years of experience in the financial industry. Cristine is currently a Market Branch Manager for America First Credit Union. She is highly involved in the community and volunteers for her church. She continually strives to leave a positive influence on those around her whether it is in her professional or personal surroundings. She enjoys spending time with her husband especially going outdoors, trying new foods, and traveling.