This is a speech Connie Lawn gave to the Euro - American Women's Council, at the US Congress. The Artemis Award pays tribute to those who have contributed to the growth and advancement of societies. Several were awarded, with the main one given to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Connie Lawn was the Mistress of Ceremonies.
Artemis Awards Speech by Connie Lawn, October 27, 2011. Rayburn Building, Washington DC
My father, a brilliant man, once told me, "a woman has to hit a home run to make it to first base." That means, a woman has to be twice as good as a man to succeed. I have always remembered that advice, and have taken it to heart. Another important piece of advice was given to me by a friend, who said, "90% of any undertakings are developmental; you are lucky if 10% succeed."
The recipients of the Artemis Awards have hit more than their share of home runs, and have succeeded more than 10% of the time!
We all have our stories to tell, and I am a firm believer that everyone should tell their own unique stories. If you must, self publish (which is really easy and inexpensive now); get on the voracious radio or t.v. shows (which always need good talkers); or shout it from the rooftops or from a soap box. But get your stories out -- the failures as well as the successes!
I will tell a bit of my professional stories, leaving out some of the uglier memories. At this stage in my life, I just want to be mellow, forgiving, and appreciate the good things. When I die, I hope people will remember me as a nice person, and not as a raging, bitter old witch!
I was always a bit different from the crowd, which I think served me in good stead. When I was 12, I was the only girl on the boys baseball team in Long Branch, New Jersey. The highlight was hitting a homerun off the pitcher, the town bully. The event was covered in the newspapers, and I still carry around a letter I wrote to the New York Times! Sadly, my parents panicked and shipped me off to a co-ed sleep away camp. That ended my tomboy years.
But, I still yearned to be different. I snuck away for hours at a time, devouring books by Ayn Rand. I could never subscribe to her economic theories. But I was hooked by her idealized version of strong, independent individuals!
Early in life, I became fascinated with travel and with meeting new people from other countries. I began to travel the world in earnest when I was 18. Later, after college, I started my own news bureau. While I had many radio and t.v. stations in the US (and still report to about 4,000 of them, through IRN/USA Radio), my major focus was on an international audience. In my heyday (before the internet and cable television came on the scene) I reported each day to the major radio stations in Canada, the UK, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and others. I was on the phone nearly 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was difficult for my two sons, but they grew up with a strong work ethic. They realized work entails much more than a 9 to 5 job, and they are extremely hard workers because of it.
I want to mention the subject of sexual harassment in business -- something we have all had to face. In the early years of my career, the issue was relentless. You could not move without some dirty old man in the Congress or the broadcasting business demanding sex. They claimed you could not get the job or the interview without pleasing them first. It was a disgusting situation, and some of it still goes on today, as we can see by stories of prominent men in the news. Of course, at my age, I would probably be flattered by such sexual pressure now! But the situation had one good benefit: It encouraged many women to start their own businesses. That way, no one could force us to do anything. With your own company, clients or stations can come and go, but you retain the basic structure and identity. I am certain that is a lesson we have all learned.
We all know these are difficult times financially. But the podium has always swung. Our parents survived world wars and depression. Hopefully, we can soon come out of this mess. And, when we do, strong women will lead the way!