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Election Debate Take-aways for Women Entrepreneurs

September 26, 2016


As everyone knows the #Debate2016 is tonight. Experts are anticipating over one million viewers tuning into this historic debate with the first female presidential nominee and a man with no previous political expertise. It would be fascinating to know what our forefathers would think of today’s election.

I remember in 1979 standing at a podium looking out through the dark auditorium of my entire ninth grade class as the first female to run for President of our class with three other women on my slate and two other male Presidential candidates. Our all women team were trailblazers back then too. When I think back about what made me want to be President of our class it was because I loved being in leadership positions even at the ripe age of 15, was a well liked person and thought I could win on popularity, and had the guts to try.

I know for a fact I didn’t do as much preparing as the two candidates for tonight’s debate because all I had with me were index cards with red ink on them to read on a darkened stage. I probably lost the election because I wasn’t prepared to speak without glancing at my cards for clues. I stuttered a bit but was also enthusiastic. In the end I remembered thinking, “Tracy you need to be more prepared next time you do public speaking!”

We lost the election to an all boys slate of officers. I believe it was because it was 1979 and we were the first all girls slate to run for office in a time when female leaders weren’t quite rocking out in schools. I learned some valuable tips from that attempt to become President that can be applied in general business practice today:

* Preparation is a major key to success in most aspects of life whether preparing for a personal appointment with a client, interviewing a new staff member, conducting an annual presentation or organizing an event. You must be prepared. People also need preparation for athletic feats, community contests, running for the PTA or theater auditions. There is no such thing as “winging it” in important circumstances when you are “selling yourself” to people. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

* Just because someone that doesn’t look like or sound like you hasn’t won a position, made a team or succeeded in that one area you have interest in, don’t give up or shy away from the experience, try it yourself. You might be the perfect person at the perfect time to claim the victory. You never know unless you try! I never did run for a political position after that defeat but I became the leader of two companies and founder of a women’s sports network. I have also backed many female politicians and leaders. Keep trying because tomorrow might be your day.

* Achieving higher levels in any part of life takes a lot of hard work, action plans, partners, supporters and a community who believes in you. Politicians have an entire party behind them, experienced athletes have friends and instructors who work with them, accomplished actresses have coaches and take acting classes, and award winning business owners have mentors and advisors. If you aren’t accomplishing as much as you want as fast you want, think about placing yourself in a community of supporters including advisors, mentors and other liked minded people. Being part of a team produces powerful results.

19kraceposterAs you watch the debates tonight, envision yourself – not as the next President of the United States (unless you want to!) but as the “leader” of something new you want to accomplish in the near future and start preparing, trying and building a team to help you. I bet you can win the “election” if you try hard to win.

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