I had the pleasure this past week of meeting a girl by the name of Shannon Boodram. I hired her as a photographer, and had an absolute blast, listening to Michael Jackson and talking about nothing serious at all. She wore a high bun at the top of her head, fresh-faced, no makeup, and an oversized sweater over black tights accessorized with a couple of long stranded necklaces. If I were to show you a photo of her, in all of her Bohemian chic glory, most would probably never guess that this natural and authentic beauty was actually a fiercely competent business woman, published author, with an established and rapidly expanding brand in ThoseGirlsAreWild.com and a knack for networking and presentation that would put her on par with the who’s who of business Canada.
This is the new brand of businesswoman.
I am awed by the sheer number of businesswomen that I meet every day who are pushing the boundaries of what is expected and accepted for the woman’s experience in corporate Canada. There is a movement towards authenticity and self-awareness that is so refreshing.
I gave a lecture just a few weeks ago on how important it was in 2012 to be sure that you’re in a profession that you love and that you’re passionate about and can be yourself with, because with work e-mails coming to your personal cell phone, work associates on your Facebook friends list, and potential consumers looking up your Twitter profile, they’re all intertwined. It’s no longer realistic to follow the adage of keeping your personal life out of the workplace and your work out of your home. Work Chellie can’t be different from Mom Chellie, Wife Chellie, or Friend Chellie. My work colleagues are some of my best friends, and who I am with them on Saturday afternoon is not any different from how I am with them on Monday morning, minus a mojito or two.
I really think that it’s worked for me in business, this comfort level that I’ve built with my colleagues and clients where they know that the enthusiasm and passion that they see with me in business is the same personality that they’ll see in any other aspect of my life. Nothing is hidden, everything is me, and they appreciate that breakdown of the usual façade. It’s a balance that I’ve chosen for myself, and that many other women in business seem to be choosing for themselves as well.
So a toast to the loveliest business woman I’ve met this week, and all the others who are embracing and harnessing their individual power in business; you are my inspiration!