With women starting more that 1,288 new companies each day, it is no wonder that they’re rewriting the rules on business and success. Dress For Success (DFS), the international organization that helps women gain economic independence through mentorship, job training, financial literacy and professional attire, is making sure that the women writing these new rules get to share their lessons with those outside the boardroom.
The revered, non-profit provided a lively and engaging atmosphere for these hard-won business tips to be passed on during its recent empowerment breakfast held at the Rainbow Room in New York City.
The annual Women Helping Women fundraising event brought together some of the top female leaders (and a few amazing men) in business to network, encourage and celebrate key professional achievements.
The Power Breakfast included an amazingly informative empowerment panel hosted by NBC’s Erica Hill. The panelist – designer Norma Kamali, BaubleBar cofounder Daniella Yacobovsky and Equinox’s president Sarah Robb O’Hagan – discussed their journeys and ways women are advancing in the workplace.
This was not my first time attending the Women Helping Women breakfast, so I knew the room was in for a treat. The panelists, event honorees and DFS CEO Joi Gordon did not disappoint and left everyone feeling inspired, uplifted and ready to conquer the day.
There were a ton of juicy business tidbits and knowledge dropped in the room, but I narrowed the mornings’ tips down to the top five success lessons that would apply to professionals everywhere seeking to get ahead.
Here are 5 lessons on success from the Women Helping Women Breakfast that you should apply to your professional life right now:
You Have to Do More Than Want It
Panelist Daniella Yacobosky of BaubleBar shared, “my mind is 24/7 thinking about BaubleBar. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and say, ‘Oh my God, I have an idea.’” Her co-CEO even texted her while she was in labor, “that she had a new idea.” While I am not co-signing on being so work driven that you can’t sleep or check-out during child-birth, I recognize that lesson of needing to commit on a deeper level to your goals. Wanting to be successful is one thing. Dedicating yourself to it (within reason) is another.
Time to Unwind and Recharge is Required
The burnout struggle is real. As driven and dedicated to reaching your goals as you are; you need to be equally committed to allowing yourself time to decompress and recharge. The bosses of BaubleBar impose a required week-long company shutdown the last week of December to allow their employees to unwind. “We want people to take a break, to power down, be with family, friends and loved ones, to lie on the beach, to go skiing, to just sit in your room and stare at a wall and not be bothered,” said Yacobosky. You cannot be stellar at your job over the long-term, if you do not take time away from it.
There’s a Difference Between Donating and Investing
Dress For Success CEO, Joi Gordon reminded everyone that there is a difference between making a donation and making an investment. Supporters don’t just give time and money to DFS; they make investments in the women that the organization serves; knowing that their will be a positive return on their investments. The same should be true of your professional expenditures. The time and energy that you spend in your career should be an investment in not only you but in the lives of others.
It’s Ok to be Competitive
Equinox’s president Sarah Robb O’Hagan reminded the room that being competitive is ok. “I used to be in denial but I finally realized I’m in a competition with myself. It doesn’t occur to me that there are other people around me that I’m competing with. It’s all about what I want to do and how I’m going to get there.” Being unafraid to challenge yourself is a requirement, if you want to break barriers and create an impact. You can learn a lot by pushing yourself and reflecting on really matters to you.
We’re More Powerful Together
One of the events highlights, was the speech from Columbia University graduate Jessica Coppola. A DFS success story, Coppploa shared her personal challenges and how her she has moved her life forward since walking through the doors of Dress For Success. She is now part of DFS’ Professional Women’s Group and is helping other women like her, gain financial independence. Copploa reminded the room that with success comes the responsibility to help others get to where you are. The more people that do that, the easier the journey becomes.
– à bientôt
Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress
*Photo Credits – Ilya Savenok