16 years ago, I stood in a room during a company-wide morning meeting while a coworker took credit for a 14 truckload deal of pies I closed. Due to an internal system technicality and a brotherhood bond with our boss, the deal was taken out of my hands and into my co-worker’s — a deal that was the result of six months of my tenacious cold calling and relationship building. When my boss told me that I didn’t get to keep the deal hours after closing it, I was pissed and my customer was annoyed.
So there I was the next morning standing in silence as our company president congratulated my coworker on closing the biggest single product deal in company history and asked him, “Tell us all about how you got this huge deal.” And no joke… my co-worker stepped forward with a huge smile, hands clasped in victory, and told our entire company a story of grand self-importance — lacking any clear details of how it actually came together because he didn’t have the details of my efforts that created the result.
I was fuming as he spoke but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t feel like I had a powerful voice in that moment or would get what was rightfully mine by speaking up at all after the fact. I remained silent.
Thankfully my customer held the ultimate power. He told my boss that if he didn’t give me back the deal, he’d take his business elsewhere. My boss, a profit seeking businessman at heart, gave it back to me. And onward I went closing huge volume sales for my company.
A year later, I started my first company and closed deals for myself. I never again let anyone take credit for my work — even when they’ve tried.
So when this moment was captured of me walking down the aisle to be honored as a woman in leadership and my long time friend Elana stood to give me a hug, I felt amazing.
As I stood at the podium in gratitude, I used my voice to empower others to use their voice because I know what if feels like to be silent and I don’t want that for anyone.
“Empowered women empower women.” I love that quote. May we be that for one another, graciously.