As we celebrated International Women's Day, I reflect on the immediate women in my Life at this moment that spur me on for Ambition. The same Ambition that is looked down as a negative trait in women but "oh-so-positive" for the opposite sex... a trait most men have decided to beware of especially when picking a wife.
I remember back in college, when I would write the introduction for my CV for my very first internship, my roommate asked "Are you sure you want to place "I am an ambitious young economist?" because that is as aggressive and opinionated a woman can be. You may not get the job!" I bullishly submitted my CV and secured my very first internship at a project by the UN at the time. I later found out that the MD was a woman. That spurred me on... until few years ago, while working at a multi-national organisation, I had to delete my "ambitious tag" because I began to find it more under traits that portray weaknesses in women employees.
At first, I felt reprove for my former opinion that ambitious women were phenomenal. My role model, Magaret Thatcher's whole existence screams "Ambitious" so I interpreted ambition as a zest to achieve all my dreams. I became dedicated to work hard for it but people started making me feel like it made for a very bad colleague until my first interaction and lengthy discussion with TCJ, former EGM at a multi-Corp. I had never seen ambition so wildly voluminous in a woman who had years of achievements behind her with a very lengthy CV to show for it. Yet she felt she was just starting to take over the world. That was it, I boldly space-barred my "Ambitious" back into the equation with full force.
Now, Mrs. Olatowun, popularly known as TCJ, is my mentor and she recommended me for a feature at the Tory Burch Foundation website for the #EmbraceAmbition campaign and there has never been a bolder season in Life to be alive.
TCJ, as she is popularly known, was General Counsel, Executive General Manager, Management Services Division and Chief Compliance Officer at TOTAL. She was the only woman on the EXCOM committee as at the time she retired. By the age of 50, she completed the Trium MBA from HEC Paris, London Business School and NYU STERN while managing a very demanding job at Total. She then retired and went on to found her company, VOLTAIRE, a catalyst platform for all emerging creatives to showcase their work before an audience not easily attainable. She is also currently building an incubation club for girl bosses to access a safe space to work, play and network on a small budget while buidling their valid dreams.
Who inspires you to #EMBRACEAMBITION?