Today, I had the privilege of attending the 2010 Matrix awards, presented by New York Women In Communications. It was an occasion to honor eight outstanding women in the fields of music, journalism, television, public relations and business for their leadership and contributions to the advancement of women.
The honorees were a distinguished group: Tina Fey, Executive Producer, Head Writer and Star of the Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock; Susan Chira, Foreign Editor of The New York Times; Cheryl Crow, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter; Ina Garten, Author and Host of Emmy Award-winning Food Network program Barefoot Contessa; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Presidential historian; Anne Keating, Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Bloomingdales; Gayle King, Editor-At-Large of O Magazine; and Marisa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google.
You can imagine all the amazing speeches that were given by the honorees. Some of the women thanked their colleagues and mentors, people who had encouraged them on their way up and during difficult times. Most thanked their families for support, love and unrelenting belief in them. Some even thanked their competitors for making them stronger and better at what they do. All of them cited good fortune for in some way getting them to where they are today at the top of their fields.
But I think it was something other than good luck. Attributing their success to being in the right places at the right times was, I believe, a camouflage of sorts or a collective show of modesty. For the real ingredient that they all possess is perseverance. Without that willingness to recognize what was special inside themselves and use it to keep looking ahead even when they were discouraged, none of them would be who they are today. Without that stubborn quality of never taking no for an answer, they would have all, at some point, just given up and gone home.
Instead, they went big. They followed their passions. They set high goals for themselves, reached beyond them and then extended their hands to others. I encourage you all to do the same. Your reward may not be a Matrix, but itll be something far more personal: knowing that you have always given your all to that which best expresses who you are as an individual.