By Anh Wilson
As we entered the corporate office of Rent the Runway, we were armed only with the knowledge that we are about to attend something called a “huddle” that promises to be thought-provoking with inspiring discussions, in a setting where light fare and wine would be served. We were all invited by someone we knew and trusted who spoke about the personality and commitment to women of the organizers. Most of us felt a sense of anticipation and could not wait to get there.
Women ranging from college age to seasoned professionals started to fill the closet inspiring loft space of Rent the Runway. The evening got underway with welcoming remarks and brief introductions by Martha to a group of about 30 women. Now it was time for the group to introduce ourselves in a rather unique format suggested by Judy. We were to turn to the person in front of us, next to us, or behind us and tell them about ourselves, about our families and careers. This person would then be the writer of our byline, our story, that would then be read to the group. What an incredible way to make a personal connection in a group setting! We felt as if we each had made 30 personal connections through this exercise. “She’s a student at Cornell who will be interning at Google this summer”, “ She’s a newlywed who loves to cook and dance and works at ……….”, “this incredibly talented student of (this school) who, went through an excellent mentoring program and will now be working at Verizon this summer”, “She’s a senior executive balancing a home life and oh, by the way, has been doing it for 20+ years” and on and on. I could have sat there all night listening to their stories – fascinating women with stories that felt similar to ours but were nonetheless unique and bonding!
The conversation flowed nicely into a discussion with Rent the Runway’s COO Maureen Sullivan about careers, family, life and the balance of It all. The truth is there is no balance and we must accept that priorities can shift between life and work, but what we hold true to our hearts will always keep us centered.
So what is “Her Huddle”? It was defined to me as a platform for inspiration. It is the vision of 3 women – Diana, Martha, and Judy through their highly successful lives and professional careers to create an intimate gathering of very special women (from senior C-suite executives to young women in college) invited to help nurture a spirit of shared purpose, trust, and inspiration. The experience is designed to ignite possibilities and inspire action.
As women, we are called to action through social moments happening all around us. The issues that affect each of us so personally and deeply are being presented before us. What are we each doing individually, what are we all doing as a group? How are we leaving this world for the next generation of women? There will always be walls to be brought down and glass ceilings to shatter but can we inspire each other to take down that wall and shatter that ceiling? The movement to inspire others and to inspire ourselves to create change can simply begin with a powerful “huddle”. I know how I felt at the end of the evening: like I could do ANYTHING.
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