Lorraine stood before the crowd of Washington, DC women, proudly announcing her age: “I’m 65,” she said and adds, “I know some people don’t like to talk about their age.” But Lorraine is happy to have gotten this far. She is a recovered 40-year heroin addict. Lorriane was in jail. Her two year-old daughter was taken from her 38 years ago, never to return. Despite her personal tragedies, or perhaps because of them, Lorriane’s life changed forever when she walked into Goodwill Industries. A friend of hers worked there. “They offered me a job before I even walked out the door that day,” Lorriane said. Today, she is a manager with Goodwill Industries. Goodwill Industries is one of the many nonprofits supported by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, the host of yesterday’s powerful luncheon.
“You might be looking at me, thinking how different we are,” Lorriane explained, “But – as women – we are more alike than we are different.”
Lorraine has gone from “homeless to homeowner” and serves as a role model and mentor for her staff. “You might be looking at me, thinking how different we are,” Lorriane explained, “But – as women – we are more alike than we are different.” A wave of nods exploded through the large audience at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation luncheon. She encouraged attendees to support each other, and “do something nice for another woman…as a sister, and as a friend. Even if it is a hug, or a compliment.” Lorriane exited the stage to a standing ovation. As I looked across the room, some of the most influential women in Washington were hugging one another, power suits and all.
“Do something nice for another woman…as a sister, and as a friend.”
The minute Lorriane was done talking, I retrieved my credit card from my purse and filled out the pledge card. I became a member of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation 1K club. I will be paying $42 dollars a month on my Visa for the next two years. It feels so good to give, and be part of the solution.
In tough economic times, how can I give?
As a business educator, I must praise the brilliant fundraising technique of the Washington Area Women’s Forum which truly considers the supporter. I immediately thought, “$42 dollars a month? I can do that!” On a personal level, those of you familiar with the Hot Mommas Project, you might think “How can you give, when the Hot Mommas Project is fundraising? ” Abundance, that is how. The mentality of abundance. I don’t believe “I can’t give, until I get.” Furthermore, my research as a part-time faculty member at the George Washington University School of Business, Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence is not designed to produce wealth. It exists to fill a gap: And that gap is democratized, scalable access to role models and mentors so that girls and women may benefit. That Hot Mommas Project is my way of giving back.
Are women bad at business? Do they give too much?
Now, don’t get me wrong. The Hot Mommas Project research fuels other workshops and classes which ARE revenue-generating. If I am going to teach women leaders in business, I certainly need to act like one. But, leadership can span many levels. I look at business leadership, and social/community leadership as two important aspects of my life along with family leadership. What kind of leader are you, and how will you choose to make your mark?
Give to the Washington Area Women’s Foundation here
Nominate a dynamic woman you know (18 or over) to share her story as a role model and mentor with Hot Mommas Project.org. Winners are published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook.
Sisterhood University alert list (add yourself to mail list by clicking appropriate “ticket” on EventBrite).
Subscribe to this blog (right column) to learn the back-story about where the rest of my charitable gifts are going this year, how, and why. A very special group of people saved lives that are close to me, I benefit, and now I want to give back.