Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event called “Joyous Persistence”. The Speaker’s List boasts an impressive selection of influential women (and men…but mostly women :)) including activists, artists, political figures, and other change-makers. Highlights included Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (who has become a bit of a feminist icon since the “Nevertheless, She Persisted” incident) and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Each individual packed an impressive list of accomplishments and encouraging messages of action and hope. It was truly a delight to listen to some of the most influential individuals, post-election 2016, speak in the same room.
Some of my favorite nuggets were:
- “Success leaves clues.” – Gavin Newsom, California Lieutenant Governor
- “If I don’t believe in gravity, it doesn’t mean I can fly.” – Referenced by Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA
- “You have to change the dominant narrative.” – Josh Harley, Writer and Creative Activist
- “Government can be seized by those with enough money to engage.” – Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Senator
This event was also incredibly personally validating for my approach towards furthering my own advocacy goals. The power of one person, the effectiveness of grassroots efforts, and the power of leveraging networks were consistently reinforced.
So what is my approach?
My approach to further my advocacy goals is to use my personal story and a grassroots effort through the community of my hometown and current city of residence to positively influence change. More specifically, as one person, I’m building my blog following desiring to use this voice to dispel some of the pervasive myths of Breast Cancer and positively influence public policy decisions. These are rather lofty goals, so I’ve started a bit smaller in working towards these objectives and building/leveraging my networks as I go.
One of the methods I’ve used to tap into my networks is participation in the Solano County Pageant competing for the title of Ms. Vacaville. In my very first pageant, I was fortunate enough to take home the crown! This title provides an additional platform through which to share my story. It’s also an incredibly powerful “ice breaker” tool in networking situations. When attending the Joyous Persistence event, I wore a long flowing dress with blazer along with my sash and crown. Several individuals said “hi” to me or asked for pictures noting they lived in the area or asking more about what the sash meant. This allowed me an opportunity to tell them a bit about myself, my purpose, and share my blog for more information. Even the audience was an extremely accomplished group of individuals and the opportunity to network and share a bit of myself was very rewarding. I also met a couple of individuals with future potential collaboration ideas; more to come as they become more concrete!
On that note, I do have an exciting announcement to share. Stay tuned for another blog post with the details!