The Elly Awards and Billy Jean King

bjkThe New York Women’s Forum is affiliated with a worldwide Women’s Forum that brings together women leaders across every professional spectrum you can think of from finance to the arts.  The New York group was founded in 1974 inviting over 450 women leaders across New York to be part of this organization.  My good friend Liz Neumark is very involved with this organization and invited me to join…and so I did.

One of the initiatives is to advance women’s leadership.  They do that three ways; through core programming that provides professional enrichments for the members, working to expand women presence and participation on corporate, civic and public boards and an educational fund that provides awards to high potential women whose careers have been derailed for multiple reasons.  The Elly Awards, in its fourth year, is an annual event to highlight the women who have been given financial awards and support to finish their education and get their desired careers back on track.

This year the Elly Awards showcased a few of the women who are in their late 40’s and maybe early 50’s who have returned to college, are getting straight A’s and are being offered job opportunities that are changing their lives and their families.  It just proves the importance of an education.  This initiative makes an impact every year on 15 women’s lives.  The women below are the women who have benefitted from the generosity of this organization.

Mayra Aviles Fordham University
Kathleen Daniel City College of New York
Lisandra De Fraga LaGuardia Community College
Mariesa Gillespie Long Island University – Brooklyn
Christine Gilliam College of New Rochelle
Kiyoko Hairston Lehman College
Jannette Hawkins City College of New York
Simonne Isaac John Jay College
Syeda Kabir Lehman College
Cristina Mihailescu LaGuardia Community College
Oraia Reid Columbia University
Rita Rivera City College Center for Worker Education
Carolina Rodriguez Hunter College
Emilie Unterweger Borough of Manhattan Community College
Tenille Warren Fashion Institute of Technology

This year one of the honorees was Billy Jean King.  She is just awesome.  No other words needed.  Her achievements are incredible.  She is a delight to listen to, she is humble and full of energy and when she spoke everyone in the room listened.

Here are a few nuggets from listening to her speak.  I might have to use them for future talks.

Failure is feedback.  Everyone is an influencer.  Sheroes vs heroes.  Power is different than leadership.  With power comes responsibility.  Sports helps women navigate the old boys network.

I think my favorite is failure is feedback.  If you hit the ball 8 inches from where it is supposed to land it isn’t failure it is feedback.  The question you should ask yourself is how do I do it different next time to get it right.

All and all quite an incredible awe-inspiring event.  This is was my second year attending and I certainly am looking forward to the years ahead.