by Ali Fraenkel
Marjie Terry’s enthusiasm spread like wildfire to a group of up-and-coming female college leaders at Forté’s New York City C2B Leadership Conference in April 2014. These individuals – whose company I was in for ten wonderfully intense hours – were also on fire in various ways… passionate, instinctively special, and BOLD.
Our morning keynote focused on taking our leadership skills to the next level. You may think, “What is this ‘next level’ and how can someone know how to get me there?” It seems like a very personal idea to focus on – and it is. Marjie’s understanding of how to present the topic of leadership to our diverse group of attendees and allowing us to own it, while still distinctly bringing us together, stood out in a powerful way.
Over the course of two hours we honed in on four unique areas of developing our leadership potential: speed networking with each other, how to establish a positive executive presence, building our own characteristic brands, and perfecting a pitch. Having extensive experience in the this field as the current VP of Leadership Development at Great on the Job, Marjie guided our paths to maximizing success in the workplace based on the various stages of work experience we were in. She set an initial expectation for the session – to help us package, process, and proceed to greatness.
What I loved about Marjie’s dynamic was her ability to encourage storytelling among our group. Every lesson she taught integrated into an activity that potentially forced us outside of our comfort zones and into larger arenas for success. Together, we connected, collaborated, and conceived plans for our future short- and long-term leadership goals.
There were numerous takeaways from this session, but upon surveying the reactions of my fellow attendees and asking what advice they would pass along to a friend, we focused on five key pieces of advice from Marjie:
“Fake it ‘til you become it.”
Let your body language, tone, and presence reflect the person you are and the person you strive to become.
“Make people love you.”
Don’t hesitate to make yourself invaluable to someone. Embrace the idea of gathering a cohort of advocates who want to see you succeed.
Say what you mean… and present it like you really do mean it! This attitude will make a good idea contagious.
“I am an expert in…”
We’ll never be done learning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be young and have meaningful knowledge to share in fields we are passionate about (and skilled in).
“Connect the dots.”
In an age where self-promotion is valued, maintain mindfulness around why you’re grateful if you say you’re grateful. Know how to bring your story full-circle.
A comment I had heard at the opening of our day especially resonated with me during Marjie’s time with us. We were talking about the idea of “making it” in a career. We recognized that this concept of what “it” is often gets lost in expectations, standards, and stereotypes.
For this day and beyond, our group came together and acknowledged that we define what “it” is for ourselves – both personally and professionally. As for Marjie? She helped us bring that inner “it” out.
Ali Fraenkel a part of the class of 2016 at Northeastern University in Human Services and International Affairs. Ali plans to be in the social change arena after college either through employment or a graduate program. Her dream job would be leading a global movement of entrepreneurial philanthropy and she enjoys Forté webinars.