We CAN- A Day of Words, Wit and Wisdom

This month I was asked to be a speaker at the We CAN  event A Day of Words, Wit, Wisdom at the Wynchmere Beach Club in Harwich, MA. I was asked to be a We CAN Voice and share my experience in the We CAN Path makers Mentoring Program. The Path makers program is a 10 month program where women of all ages and backgrounds are picked and paired with a mentor who helps them along in a transition in their life. I was one of three women to speak about my experience and although being told I would be speaking in front of an audience of over 450 women, I pushed passed my own fear of public speaking and said yes to the opportunity, and I’m glad I did.

Myself and the other women selected as We CAN Voices.

Myself and the other women selected as We CAN Voices.

At rehearsal the day before the event practicing my speech.

At rehearsal the day before the event practicing my speech.

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Looking out on the room, which the next day would be filled with an audience.

The day of the event I arrived early to the venue to look around and also, I find when my nerves are on edge it helps me prepare when I have some down time to myself. The event hosted three best selling authors: Anita Diamant, author of The Boston Girl and The Red Tent. John Searles, author of Boy Still Missing and Help for the Haunted and Jane Green author of Summer Secrets and Saving Grace ( although during her talk I learned she’s written 18 books, so you may know her other works).

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Each Author had various books on display for purchase.

The authors each spoke about their writing process, funny stories about their journey into their careers as writers, the process of turning an idea into a book, and  how they write. We CAN did an amazing job of picking three authors who have all experienced wonderful success with their writing, but with totally different paths. Jane Green told the story of how a transition of divorce led to a move that sparked a writing career that would span 20 years. She talked about how her life and environment directly relates to her topics for books and how much of herself can be found in the characters. Anita Diamant on the other hand, has a more research based way of writing, she is intrigued with the history behind the story and how women are placed in history. Her writing process is steeped in research and from that research she builds her stories. Jon Searles draws from his surroundings as well and he shared a story that really resonated with me: He sent a book to a publisher, who rejected it, but in the book was a post it note that further drove home the rejection. Instead of Searles reading that note and being discouraged, he said from then on he would create enough interest in the first chapters to allow the reader to want to continue reading. He took that rejection and turned it into success.

Anita Diamant, John Searles, and Jane Green

Anita Diamant, John Searles, and Jane Green answering audience questions.

 

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After a Q & A all authors wee available to sign books.

We CAN also honored their Woman of the Year: Susan McGee Bailey. Susan served as the Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women. Susan gave a moving speech and read an excerpt of her upcoming memoir. She shared lessons from her childhood and her first mentor, and spoke about the importance of women equality.

W3 Event coordinator, Pam Kukla and We CAN Woman of the Year Susan McGee Baily

W3 Event coordinator, Pam Kukla and We CAN Woman of the Year Susan McGee Baily

When the time came, the other Voices and myself got together and rehearsed one last time, with the help and encouragement from our speech writer and coach Susan.  Giving my speech to the room was actually easier than I thought it would be, the fear of messing up subsides once you realize you are up and that its happening. The audience was so attentive and welcoming that it helped to share my experience.

Had to take a selfie before I went on.

Had to take a selfie before I went on.

Giving my speech

Giving my speech

Some of the audience

Some of the audience

The event sold so many tickets they had another viewing room where the event was being live streamed.

The event sold so many tickets they had another viewing room where the event was being live streamed.

Here is a small excerpt of what I shared:

I hadn’t anticipated how much the program would mean to me, not only as a woman trying to improve her own life, but as a woman witnessing other’s empower themselves… In witnessing and rooting for the other women’s journeys, while traveling my own, there was this awesome sense of understanding that we all had the ability to be amazing in our own lives. 

…there are so many paths to getting a “yes”. We have the power to decide how we want our lives to change and in wanting that change, we can decide that we won’t take no for an answer. The life (we) want to live is possible, and seeing how other women in the program and I benefited from the Path maker experience and left the program hopeful, motivated and empowered is a testament to that understanding. 

Me and my mentor, Mim, after my speech.

Me and my mentor, Mim, after my speech.

I’m so grateful to have been able to share my experience with We CAN at the Words, Wit and Wisdom event. Participating in the 10 month program, meeting with other Path maker participants monthly and my mentor weekly gave me the clarity, confidence and understanding that I needed in moving forward as a Mother, Designer and Woman in Business.

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