How often do we get caught up thinking about the things we haven’t done versus the things we have done? I’d have to admit often in my case. While I was driving to this month’s LIW event, I was in the midst of thinking about all these things that I could a should a done that morning as if I’m some sort of wonder woman….instead of giving myself credit for the things I had done. Thanks to this month’s speaker – Dean Valerie Eikmeier from IUPUI’s Herron School of Art & Design; I was able to gain that refreshing perspective. (more on her later) It’s like she was speaking to me! And before you start judging, I’m not the only one that has ever thought this. Just last month, Mendy Werne from Blast Media was commenting on how she felt LIW speakers speak to her and are able to know how she feels; so I know there has to be more ladies that this has happened to!
This is exactly one of the many reasons I love LIW; being able to leave with a real connection. Just like Sarah Lacey puts it, “Each of us has a story to tell…in a unique way,” providing attendees various channels of inspiration. LIW accomplishes this by establishing an effective environment in which to do that, filling it with people that have the same interests, and then providing attendees an adaptable takeaway – a personal or professional takeaway or BOTH!
For example, as I walked into the event this Wednesday (mind you I’m not a morning person so I was darting towards the coffee), but I was pleasantly interrupted by Lauren Weatherall’s enthusiastic personality on my way there. Her enthusiasm not only had made me forget about my mission for coffee for those few minutes, but also made me more excited for the event, what’s to come, and meeting more women I could converse with in that same way…ultimately helping establish the environment. Then I started making my usual rounds – seeing familiar faces and meeting new comers, touching base on some plans made with a group of ladies I met here last month, and then grabbing a spot to get ready to hear the speaker, Dean Valerie Eikmeier.
During the early period of the Dean’s career, there were no opportunities such as networking groups like LIW for women to join. It was hard to find a place where women could gain inspiration, support, or personal/business relationships. This became evident when she had been promoted from Associate Dean to Dean in a short period of time and been handed a school that had not been taken care of in the best way. Her attitude, determination and focus to make Herron noticeable allowed her to start gaining the support of her male colleagues and leveraging their network; while proving herself through material accomplishments. In doing so, she oversaw the construction of two new buildings and raised substantial funding for the first time for Herron. She not only proved herself, but proved herself to be resourceful. The Dean’s background maybe in sculpting/art, but it showed where a day course in fundraising coupled with passion and drive can get you.
While her career was getting crazy, she was raising her own family. Regardless of the pressure this put on her, when she got the call for the okay to adopt her daughter from China; she gracefully accepted the responsibility. She reminisced about the experience, stating everything works itself out. Adding onto that to not let people guilt you into thinking what you’re doing is wrong, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for yourself and your family. People will always judge, but it’s up to you to be confident in yourself and your decisions.
Dean Eikmeier’s final thoughts were to keep your own score, know who you are and appreciate yourself. New people may come into your workplace, those that don’t know how much you’ve built for the project you are working on or have worked on, but that doesn’t mean you should forget your own accomplishments how small or big they may be.
Tell us! Do you keep your own score and appreciate yourself?
Megha Patel- LIW Member