1st lightening talk/1st talk at a technical conference = check! Received great feedback from attendees and the UNCC prof that introduced me to this field. All I can say is that leaps of faith are HIGHLY favorable. #CloserToATEDTalk #WatchOutWorld #SOUPS2014 #FootageComingSoon (at Facebook HQ)
The Power of Women Friendships
As a young, ambitious, Black woman, in a society with so many negative statistics against me when it comes to life and a career – most black women are single, if we do get married we will likely get divorced, 4.8% of women and 1.2% Blacks are Fortune 500 C.E.O’s, trying to beat these odds can sometimes get overwhelming. However, having strong friendships with women from various backgrounds, helps keep me hopeful. I have awesome friends who have husbands, kids, careers, multiple degrees, etc. and they inspire me every day. They show me that I can do whatever I set my mind to, and often encourage me to be my best self. They keep it real and offer words of wisdom without making me feel like I am living life all wrong.
Growing up as the only child in my house while in a city with a limited amount of family, the questions I was uncomfortable asking my mom often went unanswered. Because of this, some of my favorite, most cherished friendships are those that I share with women who are mostly older than I am. The inspiration, motivation, and guidance that I gain from them are priceless. I first realized how important it is to have older women around me with one of my mom’s friends, who I clicked with while in high school. I was grateful to have her around to show me things that I was hesitant to trust my peers about, like getting my eyebrows waxed, shaving/what kind of razors to use, and Starbucks! It was so good seeing her in New Orleans for the first time since 2009 and reminisce about old memories and to catch up about life. During my senior year of high school, I was able to build a bond with several of the women who worked at my high school, who still hold me down to this day! I always think to myself that God must have known how much I would need them, because some taught classes I never enrolled in and others led programs that I wasn’t a part of, yet I was able to connect with them anyway and keep the relationship going past my senior year.
In addition to the women I have met organically, I also have my Sorority sisters in Delta Sigma Theta, as well as, women I’ve met while being an active leader of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). I have been influenced by Delta’s for years and the impact they have made on me, as a member, has been priceless. From my Mu Omicron Chapter members who own businesses, practice law and medicine, are engineers, etc., to those who I have met from other chapters, to our Founders and Honorary Members, being around such strong Black women helps raise the bar high so that I can continue on my own path to excellence. NSBE has had a similar impact, as I am constantly around College Deans, physicists, business owners, PhD/masters Engineering grads, directors of very large organizations, etc., it has truly been a blessing to get to know them over time and get to witness how great they are.
As women, it is important to continue supporting each other and lift each other up. No, we may not get along all the time; however, we can’t let that keep us from building relationships with other women. Although I am not the greatest at initiating the process to mend broken relationships, I am good at building them. Once you get used the feeling of having positive examples of what you can do and be in life, you work even harder to keep those types of people around.
I am writing this post following a weekend trip where 8 women shared a house (and one bathroom) and had limited drama the entire time. There were those who never met and those who knew each other since high school, yet we were able to hang out, mostly in small groups, and have a great time. How awesome is that? I will never, ever, understand women who say, “I don’t hang with a lot of women because they cause drama”. While I somewhat get it and also cherish my male friends, I also know the power of bonding with other women and that drama can be avoided very easily when you put your ego to the side and be willing to be flexible in the relationship.
If you do not have at least one “sister-circle”, a close female friend, or even a close woman mentor, I would highly encourage you to do what you can to create one; it is truly one of my biggest motivators! It does not have to be forced, just recognize those who support you, show them support in return, and go from there! Or, plan a girls trip to a music festival and have a BLAST :-)
So tell me, how have your women friendships impacted you in life?
My girls and I in NOLA
Had the pleasure of eating on the 59th floor of THE tallest building in NC for an event just for women in tech interns and new hires. Apparently a lot of employees don’t get to go to Corporate Dining, so for that, I am grateful. #Blessed #ElevatorSelfie #InternLife (at Bank of America Corporate Center)
4 generations of Phillip O. Berry Information Technology Leaders - C/O ‘08, C/O ‘12, & C/O ‘11! All Comp Sci/IT Majors and interns at Bank of America + Duke Energy. Beyond proud to be amongst them #Legacy #Started #UNCC #NCSU #WSSU @ivanna_azalea @j_first48 (at Vapiano Charlotte)