Tell Your Story: Advice from the White House

Last week as one of Vision 2020’s delegates, I had the pleasure of attending a White House Briefing. We met with members of the Obama administration to hear and discuss policies and programs impacting women.

Tina Tchen and Ana Harvey MAR2012

Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to the First Lady of the United States (left) and Ana Harvey, Associate Administrator for Women’s Business Ownership (right)

A significant part of the day was focused on advancing women at work and women entrepreneurs. We discussed topics that ranged from increases in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantees, to enhanced availability and funding for micro-credit loans in the U.S., to The Start-up/Job Creation Act, to Title IX and Equal Pay. As in most of the world, the status of women in the U.S. is improving, just not fast enough. If you are a female entrepreneur in the U.S. and you are not familiar with the many resources and programs available to you from the SBA, I urge you to visit the Women’s Business Center in your city and online at The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership.

Closing remarks at the White House Briefing were made by Jon Carson, the Director of The White House Office of Public Engagement. He surprised me with his advice and his parting message. As he talked about the most important thing we could do when we left,  I expected a tie to something about supporting the administration or sharing with others what we had learned that day, but instead his advice was this:

Tell people YOUR story.
Have personal conversations about your work and what you are doing.
Your success and your story are inspiring to others.

Rania Anderson goes to the White House_MAR2012

Rania asking a question at the White House Briefing.

Women have a tendency to underestimate the influence of their work. We forget how those around us can benefit from hearing about what we are doing in our places of work and in our businesses. Just as we can benefit from hearing about the work of others, we need to share our own stories. There is much to celebrate and appreciate about the considerable great work already accomplished and also now underway by women everywhere.

More than anything else, share your story. Tell of your business if you are running one. Describe your work in an organization. Explain your efforts in the community. Not only will you spread news of your endeavors, you will likely inspire other women. If you need some tips on how best to tell your tale, check out I recently came across Nancy Duarte and her work, and I have learned a lot about telling my story.