THE BLOG
04/20/2016 01:35 pm ET Updated Apr 20, 2017

Leadership: Inspiration to Action

"What's in it for me? (WIIFM)"

This is one of the first questions our inner voice asks to determine whether we should engage in a presentation or discussion.

I asked myself that question while attending the first general session and welcome reception of the 2016 Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF) Annual Leadership Development Conference one month ago. The answer quickly came to me...I was going to be inspired to action.

We recognize our own leadership potential, or it is recognized by others. We develop these skills throughout the year, but we rarely create and act on a well-defined plan to become an inspiring leader and the Chief Breakthrough Officer (CBO) of our lives and organization.

Throughout the WFF conference, and the many educational sessions, I received coaching and tools to create my leadership goals and plans, and the how to execute my strategy.

The inspiration, the force or influence, came from the "Sisterhood of Business". It was euphoric and exhilarating. We all felt inspired and discussed this new-found feeling with everyone we encountered. We also shared the inspiration through social media and connections with friends, family, and our organizations.

WFF and Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA reminded many of us of our first experience in leadership roles. It was as young girls in the Girl Scouts, or in Canada, the Girl Guides organizations. We were young ladies, enjoying our time with our friends, and the experiences offered by this great organization. I sold a lot of cookies door-to-door. I had no idea I was running a business, providing customer service, and experiencing leadership roles within the troop. This group impacted the woman I am today. I appreciate my parent's vision and decision, as well as Ms. Chavez and the global organization, for their valuable contribution to girl's and women's leadership. Our inspiration to action:

  • Be mentors and guides to the younger generation so they can see and learn from women who have already blazed a trail. It is very important to have a champion in your personal and work life.

Nely Galán, Founder, The Adelante Movement, inspired us with her dynamic personality and advice. Our inspiration to action:

"Choose yourself so others can choose you".

  • Champion yourself.
  • Cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit.

"Don't buy shoes, buy buildings ladies!"

  • Women are empowered when they have financial freedom.
  • Make money, save money, and let the money work while you sleep.

Shirley Everett, Senior Associate Vice Provost, Residential & Dining Enterprises, Stanford University, motivated us. Our inspiration to action:

  • Take risks.

"You don't know what you don't know...take the step and proceed from there."

  • Follow your passion.
  • Understand what you want to do.
  • Get education and experience.
  • Push yourself or get pushed.
  • Build a network.

"Can all you get and get all you can."

Sophie Bellon, Chairwoman of the Board, Sodexo, influenced us.

"Speak out and have the right behavior."


Our inspiration to action:

  • Bring numbers to the table.
  • Show correlation between the team and the numbers.
  • Implement a structure and accountability.
Arianna Huffington, Chair, President, and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group, gave us a reality check. We are in a sleep crisis. We have fallen into the trap of sacrificing sleep in the name of productivity and success.

Her story was very familiar to most of us in the room. We have measured success by achieving money, possessions, and power, and forfeited our wellness. We may not have had to get stitches, or undergo surgery, as a result of sacrificing sleep, but we have repeatedly pushed our bodies and minds to the limit, and back. We realized how much we were negatively affecting our bodies and minds. Our inspiration to action:

Thrive: Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

  • Stop wearing your stress and work as a badge of honor.
  • Determine the most important priorities for action; ruthless prioritization.
  • Multi-tasking is really task switching.
  • Personal connections add to your lives.

Sleep Revolution:

  • Exercise, diet, and sleep are the 3 legs of the success stool.
  • We introduce a bedtime routine for our children (bath, massage, and storybook), but we don't do the same for ourselves to prepare us for a great night's sleep. Why not?

"As our days become more and more consumed by doing, by distractions and urgency, sleep, waiting for us every night, offers a surrender."

  • Reframe your inability to fall asleep as fast as you'd like as a blessing instead of a problem. Use this time to meditate and relax without deadlines and distractions, and as time to share your gratitude. Sleep will follow.
  • When we walk through the door of our bedroom, it should be a symbolic moment that marks leaving the day, with all of its problems and unfinished business, behind us.
  • Make the most of the third of our lives that we should be spending asleep. Sleep benefits our health, our clarity of thinking, decision making, and our quality of life with family and friends.

Lead the charge in changing the current beliefs...join the Sleep Revolution movement! Change your life!

Before departing for home, and giddy with inspiration and sisterhood, we began creating our new and detailed leadership plan and action steps, using our notes, and documented ideas and projects. We were inspired to share this newly acquired knowledge with our organization. Women's Foodservice Forum annual conference and content changed us. We were not the same leaders we were three days prior.

These inspirations to action I have shared are not representative of all the knowledge I acquired from the WFF conference. There are too many to share right now.

Chief Breakthrough Officer (CBO) and Leader....I choose me...so my organization will choose me in the future.