More than ever, connecting with like-minded women and women role models is critical for a woman's life and career. I have been connecting with women my whole life, from attending an all-girls' high school and all-women's college to organizing Girls Night Out events for almost a decade as the former President of Shecky's. Being constantly surrounded by women made it easy for me to recognize their innate worth. The women I met through my personal and professional networks were accomplished and multi-faceted, but the more I looked at popular media, the more I realized that their portrayal of women lacked the depth of those I knew.
It wasn't until I decided to dedicate my career and personal brand to celebrating women and their achievements that I became aware of the collaborative power of connecting with women as the key to propelling us to reach our full potential, and even change the world. I made it my mission to create positive social change for women through media by introducing women to remarkable change makers through over 100 interviews on ClaudiaChan.com.
Bringing that insight and inspiration to life, I created a new empowering event for women called S.H.E. Summit Week (launching this week, June 18-24th in NYC). S.H.E. stands for "she helps empower." Whether that refers to empowering men, family members, our work, communities or ourselves, women are the innate nurturers of our world. And though we take on so much with determination, care and heart, I have noticed we are the last ones to commend ourselves on our achievements -- and the first ones to deflect compliments.
It's all too easy to put taking care of OURselves last and eventually we become disconnected with what our inner selves want and what makes us happy. A few years ago, I hit a place of depression experiencing just this, which led to my increased fascination with observing the patterns and conversations of women surrounding me, from high power execs to entrepreneurs to stay-at-home moms.
Though I believe the capabilities of women are remarkable and limitless, I also realized that it's hard to become what we cannot see, given the massive under-representation of women leaders who are doing it all. So I ventured to inspire women to pursue their passions and discover their dreams by promoting the women leaders who are already on that journey.
The experience led to my vision to create NYC's first women's week of events designed for, by and about women to inspire each other in work, life and everything in-between. With 35+ events ranging from networking, entrepreneurship and professional development to wellness, beauty and personal growth, here are three reasons why planning your ultimate inspiration week is a no brainer:
- Serve your passions by taking inventory of your inner self. Because women give so much of ourselves to projects, people and performance, we must also remember to engage in activities that help us pause to consider whether we are living the life we want. How often do you ask yourself, "What area in my life do I need to detox and where is it that I need replenishing so I can get closer to my dream?" S.H.E. Summit Week was designed to give you the opportunity to finally take inventory and answer these questions. A great workout in a new environment reconnects us with our bodies and the significance of taking care of ourselves first. Hearing a successful entrepreneur or executive share their journey gives us the awareness that anything is possible, even from humble beginnings. If we don't push ourselves to connect to our true selves, we're selling our lives short.
- Connecting with women builds your confidence. You are never too young or too old to be a mentor or a mentee. Networking with women leaders who have been in your shoes and can share experiences unique to women to help you determine when to take a risk, make a career move or ask for a raise will build an invaluable foundation on which you can build your sense of self. Surround yourself with women who will provide sound advice, emotional support and the assurance that you are not alone. S.H.E. Summit Week is all about connecting you with fabulous women who are passionate about the same issues you are and who can provide a refreshing perspective on an old outlook.
- Why wouldn't you want to celebrate amazing women? The first step to pursuing your dreams is exposing yourself to the doers. Of course, there will always be pitfalls and roller coasters, but if we learn the tricks of how to stay on-course, we'll be well on our way to setting goals that we can achieve. S.H.E. Summit Week is bringing together hundreds of incredible women to celebrate what they have already accomplished and to set expectations for the amazing heights that we will reach if we join forces. Don't ever underestimate the results of a simple act of faith. Randomly meeting someone at a networking event can turn into a life-long friendship or business partnership that leads to countless rewarding experiences. Networking with incredible women is exactly how I got to where I am now.
Claudia Chan is the founder of S.H.E. Summit Week, taking place in New York City June 18-24. It's New York City's first "women's week," with 35+ events designed for, by and about women to inspire each other in work, life and everything in between. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit shesummitweek.com.
Follow Claudia Chan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/claudiachan