Leaders Talk Balance, Authenticity at International Women’s Day LunchMarch 16, 2020
This month, more than 150 local business and community leaders gathered in recognition of International Women’s Day. The event featured an uplifting and empowering program that embodied the 2020 theme of Each for Equal, which emphasizes the importance of equity for women in the workforce and beyond.
The Chamber’s Chief Operating Officer Tammy Carnrike opened the program with some history on International Women’s Day. Next, Najah Bazzy, founder and CEO of Zaman International and 2019 CNN Top 10 Global Hero; Linglong He, president and CEO of Rock Central; and Lisa Lunsford, CEO and co-founder of Global Strategic Supply Solutions – took the stage with Detroit Public Television anchor Christy McDonald to share their personal experiences and wisdom for others working toward a more equal society.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Life is not about balance, it’s about focus,” said He.
All three speakers challenged the commonly held notion of balance and expectation for women to “have it all.” Instead, they emphasized the importance of prioritization, focus, and allocating time to the things that matter most – whether it’s family, work, hobbies, or health.
“Life happens first. You get longevity out of people when you understand that they live life,” said Bazzy.
“The idea of mentoring is creating your future,” said Bazzy. “I love pouring everything and anything I know into the next generation because for me that creates a legacy.”
The panel also emphasized the benefits of mentorship and the significance of its reciprocity. Mentorship can take many forms and can be equally powerful with those from both similar and different backgrounds.
“The relationship is a two-way street,” said Lunsford. “Be open and know that your mentor is there to guide you and to sharpen you.”
“Sometimes you’ve got to fake it to make it. As long as you’ve got a team around you, people to support you, trust me – you’ll make it,” said Lunsford.
Women are particularly vulnerable to imposter syndrome, or feelings of not being good enough despite objective qualifications. The speakers encouraged the audience to own the voice they’ve been given and acknowledge moments when they question themselves so they can process it and move forward.
“If we have that moment [of doubt], let it be,” said He.
View the full program here for more valuable lessons from this year’s speakers.