Serena. And Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 List.
Working hard is a given: It’s just what I do because of how I was raised and how God made me. The validation from industry leaders and professional organizations means a lot to me, whether it’s an individual award or a team award. (Speaking of teams, I have had the privilege of hiring brilliant people and building incredible ones over the years!)
Nevertheless, in the midst of success, I was suffering at a former job due to the mental anguish of microaggressions. I would talk to my mother about it, often in tears. She said something one day that stuck with me: “You have a proven track record.”
It was true. I have received awards for journalism and marketing throughout my career. I’d even referred to myself as “Serena” in a therapy session when talking about my career: The accolades and the anguish. In addition to how successful she is, Serena Williams has also dealt with her share of people trying to attack her character, accusing her of cheating, and ultimately trying to demean her. But what does she do?
SHE KEEPS GOING. SHE KEEPS THRIVING. SHE’S THE #GOAT. And no one can take that away from her.
That’s why conversation with my mom changed something in me. And I’m glad it did. I kept winning, not only with awards but also standing up for myself, maintaining boundaries, and being fearless when it came to advocating for myself. Things improved a bit, antagonists left, and I eventually moved on to a new position where I took a lot of those lessons with me.
It’s also why I decided to (finally) put my name in the hat to apply for the 40 Under 40 List. With my mother’s empowering words in my head and the acceptance that I was worthy of it, I nominated myself and asked others (friends, former colleagues, sorority sisters, and more) if they would be willing and able to nominate me.
And this was the real win: They all said yes. Without hesitation. I am so grateful for everyone who took the time out to do this for me. You boosted my confidence and helped me to further embrace who I am as a person. I am truly grateful and thankful for you. You helped me to believe in myself even more.
I am super happy to announce that I made the list. Read it here. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
From me to you: Be Serena (or whomever your #GOAT is). Be courageous, be inspired, and keep winning.