By now, I'm sure you've noticed I love lists. For the kicks of it, I'll list why I love lists one day. But for now - here's why my dream is to make the cover of Fast Company some day (sooner rather than later!):
- Success is sexy
When I was growing up, I didn't want to be Barbie. I wanted to be President. Of course, back then, I wasn't denied a job because I was in my 20s and "a risk to get married and have kids". I didn't know yet that when I'd go into a car shop with an exact idea of what I wanted fixed, the mechanic would talk to my male friend, who knows as much about cars as he does about his bra size. But I knew this: that all grown up, I'd be a Nobel Prize of Literature, or I'd flat out become President (and yes, that was my 2nd choice). The best way to put it? Success is sexy. I take much more pride in my brains than I do my body. And I shouldn't have to be ashamed of being ambitious or successful. So if I can get there, I can also go to a 12 year old, and tell her: you'll find many obstacles if you want to succeed. But Success is Sexy. And I, like many people around you you don't know, can help you get there. I can show you the way. We can share stories. We can share the pain. And we can share the glory.
- I hoped. I sacrificed. I'm still hungry.
When I left my family, my friends, my I-know-where-everything-is-around-here in France, and decided to stay in California in 2003, I was nervous. I was scared. I spoke the language fluently, and could easily pretend I was from South Carolina; but my heart, my culture, my memories... they all screamed home. I couldn't have the career I wanted back home; there truly was no hope there. The thought of becoming a wife and mother as the only achievement drove me crazy - I wanted it all. The career. The inspiration. The family. France, to this day, does not offer that dream: to cry it out loud, I'd gone to too many interviews where I was told "You have a degree in English, but we're looking for people who can speak business English". Really, a Masters in Linguistics and a thesis co-sponsored by a Linguistics Professor at UC Berkeley with business classes at Haas Business School won't cut it for you? You'd rather go for the dude whose parents paid for an expenseeeve beeznesss skool? I wanted to go to a land of opportunity. I wanted to prove I could do it. To this day, I'm still hungry. Hungry to fill the void that was created when I left home to pursue a dream, 6,000 miles away. And I've learned that to succeed, you must get yourself a very concrete goal, and visualize the path that will get you to it. So here's mine: I want to be the cover of Fast Company.
- I am what I believe
I strongly believe women and multi-cultural (or at least, culture conscious) leaders are the future of any country. This is the truth of globalization: understanding, looking up to, and marketing to, the 20-wanna be white techie dude won't cut it in the near future. Global markets to be reached can (and have to) be segmented, but they are increasingly complex. Melting pots are everywhere; Americans don't like to be boxed in (one ethnicity, one "type" of personality,etc). If you want to reach a new breed of consumer, the one that is influenced by a world of information, you need key executives who are (or are open to be) multi-cultural. If your company already has that, congratulations: your company already has an edge. I also believe, from experience, that women, because they have encountered many a challenge and obstacle; because they're second-guessed every time they express themselves, are perfectionists, they're over-achievers, they're get-it-doners. Why wouldn't that be seen as the success of today and tomorrow? I speak 3 languages fluently, am acquainted with another 2; I'm learning Chinese; I'm driven, dedicated, and I'm a reader of Fast Company. Good fit, don't you think? ;-)
- Ultimately, I just want to make a difference
Whether it's French or American youth, or the world's girls, I want to demonstrate something simple: that if you work hard, you, too, can get there. It may be naive. It may be cliche. But that hope - the one to influence and inspire others, to keep them going when they want to give up - that's what I want to do. Because it's the inspiring people around me that keep me going. By showing me that integrity and hard work get you results. I'd love for some other 20-something year old to look at the cover and go: "Huh. How did she get there?" Open it. Read it. And find out she could do it too.
Comments? Questions? Email me at carolineblogs at gmail dot com