Success is accomplishing things that feel good, are good and help to serve the common good. This is the thought of Shannon Cassidy, keynote speaker of the Women’s Leadership Conference, held on Saturday, Oct. 10.
“My greatest obstacle in my path to having my own business was me,” Cassidy, founder and executive director of Bridge Between, Inc., said. “Before, my goals were simple like making enough money to pay my bills. Then I thought how can I build a business with lousy goals like that?”
Cassidy was once a homemaker until her life flipped upside down after Sept. 11, 2001. Cassidy’s husband lost his job. All the while Cassidy was pregnant with her second child. In an instant she became the provider for her family.
Soon Cassidy realized she needed to raise the standards of her work ethic and turned her hobby into a career. She hired a corporate coach as well as a financial adviser to steer her in the right direction. Also in becoming the woman she is today, she eliminated factors that held her back.
“You have to surround yourself with positive people and those who want you to succeed as badly as you do,” Cassidy said. “There is no such thing as balance so stop trying. Your friends should be people who keep your goals in check.”
Cassidy continued to share her story and guidance with the audience. She noted that the two main skills she has required and recommends one should acquire if one begins a business are listening and commitment.
The theme of the conference that was held in the Grace Hall atrium was “Inspiring women: breaking down barriers to success.” Female speakers presented themselves in the spotlight of the room where they set up the stage in a panel-like setting. One of the panel discussions was titled “What do you bring to the table?”
A keynote speaker during the panel discussion was Cheryl Beth Kuchler, founder and managing principal of Think Tank. Kuchler made reference to Cassidy’s speech about choosing who you spend your time with in your leisure.
“The most important decision in my life was who I picked as my life partner,” Kuchler said. “I’m not lying, I made a list of 20 things I wanted to have in a husband and he met all but two requirements.”
Kuchler believes that as much as you need your life partner to be supportive of your career path, women need to support other women in the business world. She thinks that the competition factor needs to be eliminated.
An attendee at the conference who has a career in pharmaceuticals was elated to have the opportunity to be present at a seminar with such notable speakers.
“As women we do build up these walls,” Carole Wishneski said. “I think what we really need to work on is breaking them down so we can get to know each other so working together isn’t painful.”
A closing remark Carole Beth Kuchler made was directed to all women in the room, despite their career choice.
“Listen to your intuition, but more importantly follow it,” Kuchler said.