As a young female being caught up with a new career and trying to balance all that life can throw at me, being in former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama’s presence reminded me why I have been and need to continue to work hard to make an impact. At Mrs. Obama’s talk presented in partnership with WE FOR SHE 2018, her message and presence was loud and clear – as women and human beings, we need to continuously support one another and live comfortably in our own skin.
Mrs. Obama’s poise and inspiration carried the audience throughout the conversation that afternoon. While I was not able to take detailed notes during the event as I wanted to stay engaged and soak up her empowering presence, here is some advice and words of wisdom that really resonated with me that afternoon.
- Believing in your own story – we all come from different places and experiences, believing in our own story is how we can truly embrace ourselves and be comfortable with who we are. Acknowledging that we all have our own experiences to tell is important, but we need to believe that ours is just as worth sharing.
- Confidence is a muscle – it is hard to believe that Mrs. Obama was not always this confident. It is not something you are born with, but instead, something you learn to be comfortable with and put in practice. It starts with believing in your own story and owning up to your successes while acknowledging how else you can improve to better yourself.
- Putting life first – what I have learned after six months of starting my career is that work will always be there. Mrs. Obama’s way of scheduling her live events before her endless amounts of work and initiatives was a bit of an awakening. If the former First Lady can make the effort to divvy up her time for family, friends, and exercise, I think we can all give a better effort to do the same for the parts of our own lives that we value. Setting the right expectations and being able to vocalize your priorities is important in maintaining work-life balance. This has become increasingly difficult in a time where we are always connected!
- Giving back and continue paving the way – there are so many that have come before us, especially as women, to make sure we get equal opportunities to continue challenging ourselves and make change. We can only return the favour by striving to do the same in giving even more opportunities for the generations to come. It can be as simple as being a mentor or standing up for what you believe in.
- Be engaged and be involved – funnily enough, this was not put here because of our Beedie Be More influence, but look how relevant! If Michelle Obama says so…we should probably follow suit, right? Mrs. Obama really put emphasis on mentorship and being engaged with those around you. A mentorship relationship may not always be formalized, it can be as simple as sharing your experiences with a sibling or taking in advice from your parents. Staying involved – if we don’t cease opportunities to stay engaged with our communities or involve ourselves in giving back…we really would not get to experience conversations like this one with Mrs. Obama.
Whether or not the same messages resonated with the rest of the audience, Mrs. Obama continues to be an inspiration and her genuine care for the world is empowering. The conversation I experienced not only inspires me to be a better female leader in my community but has acted as a reminder for me to continue being a better person in the world. I hope it does the same for you.
Flora recently graduated and was fortunate enough to end her Beedie Ambassador term off with the Michelle Obama speaking event. During her undergrad, she took advantage of the Be More statements and experienced a semester abroad in Sweden, planned case competitions in addition to competing in a couple herself. In the last six months, Flora has been putting her Management Information Systems (MIS) concentration to use in Technology Consulting at Deloitte. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.