This is the time of year for giving keynote speeches at graduations - so yesterday I got into the act. Except this was not an ordinary group of graduates, and I gave the speech on, oh, a few hours' notice.
You see, I visited The Women's Initiative for Self Employment yesterday morning. I had been planning to go there and learn more about the group, with the possibility of mentoring women starting their own businesses.
Well, it turned out they were graduating a group of women from one of their programs... last night. And their keynote speaker couldn't make it. So, at around 11am I was asked if I would be willing to talk.
Well I talk a lot anyway so why not just give me a microphone to do it?
But seriously - this was a group of women who were taking their very first steps toward self-sufficiency by starting their own businesses. They have created business plans, studied cash flow and developed their own "elevator speech."
So I got up there in the role of (as I put it ) an emissary from "planet been-there" - having worked in every imaginable size of organization, as an executive, and for myself - and emphasized the importance of being someone people can rely on, and on keeping your sense of humor because there will always be irrational people you can't please out there. It's okay. Just make a dart board or have a beer and laugh.
Anyway it was great fun, and I'm always happy to help remind people to laugh.
The Women's Initiative has been around in the SF Bay Area for 20 years. Check them out, it's well worth it: