Sharing good things, especially things we’re proud of, can be surprisingly difficult. Embarrassing moments? Yep, I’ve told a few of those stories here. Full of excitement and anticipation? Oh, hell yeah. Contemplation–I know so. Downright depressing? Sadly, yes. But sharing stories that elevate, highlight, and draw attention? Ummm . . . not so much.
Women, I think, especially women my age and older, are trained to downplay “hey, look what I did!” news. Heaven forbid we remotely appear to be bragging. Self-deprecation goes hand-in-hand with imposter syndrome, giving birth to complete personal downplay. A few weeks ago, I decided to fully embrace this special event and share my excitement by inviting friends and loved ones. But actually telling, like, acquaintances? Putting words to paper for strangers to read?
Two weeks and several trashed first-starts later, that sharing hadn’t happened.
So today, I set a time limit and some parameters: no qualifying, no modest downplay, no explanation, no comparison.
I WILL OWN MY BIG DEAL.
My Good News Is. . .
This May, I received Women Communicators of Austin’s President’s Award.
The President’s Award is “given by WCA’s president to shed light on the vast contributions of particular volunteers whose work often goes unseen by the entire organization but deserves to be recognized.”
WCA’s 2018–2019 president of the board, Sophia Lopez, awarded the honor. Since she would be traveling on May 4, 2019’s Banner Brunch event, Sophia recorded a video introduction (when I have that link, it’ll go here so you can watch).
Sophia quoted my work as organizer and board member responsible for Get Smart, WCA’s annual educational conference, as her inspiration for the award. She called out my “passion and conviction” and thanked me for all I’d contributed during my two years in that WCA role.
At the brunch, I was recognized in the printed program, presented with a beautiful keepsake award, and photographed with the past president, Karen Aroian, and president-elect, Jenny Magic.
The podium was mine for a short speech. For the life of me, I’m not exactly sure what I said (there’s a reason my remarks were somewhat off the cuff–see below*).
As my good friend Lisa Maxwell says, “It’s not Banner Brunch until someone cries.”
Perhaps tears were shed before I arrived, but I certainly brought the goods. How often do we–do I?–get a special moment of recognition before peers, mentors, role models, and loved ones?
This moment goes right up there with that family hug after crossing the Ironman Coeur d’Alene finish line. Thank you, Women Communicators of Austin!
*I Almost Missed My Special Banner Brunch
In February, for my birthday, my youngest daughter had gotten us tickets to see the My Favorite Murder podcast live in Sugar Land on Friday, May 3. Sugar Land is only a 2.5 hour drive from Austin (more or less, depending on traffic), so my plan was to get up early and be home in ATX well before Saturday’s Banner Brunch festivities began. I hit the road at 7 a.m.; I needed to be at Sonesta Bee Cave by 10:30 a.m. Piece of cake!
All was well except the tire pressure light blinked on. I stopped, added air, checked the tire, and continued with fingers crossed. A little more than an hour down the road, the rear right wheel produced a distinctive noise.
My tire was flat.
Fortunately, I pulled over safely. The shoulder was wide and traffic light enough that I could get out, assess the situation, and call our insurance company for help (no spare in a Fiat; the “fix a flat” kit wouldn’t help). A kindly state trooper checked on me and we chatted, passing some time. An hour and a half later, the tow truck arrived. The driver took one look and said, “That garage isn’t going to have a tire for this car. We’ll either need to go back to Katy or on to Austin.”
Thank God for cell phones. A helpful recommendation steered me to La Grange Tire Center, which had one tire. We towed the car to La Grange (thank you, Mark, of Fernandez & Sons Wrecker Service, for that pleasant drive and getting me some 30 minutes closer to ATX); on went the new tire; and I walked into Banner Brunch at approximately 12:15 p.m., after more than five hours on the road–and almost two hours late.
Master of Ceremony Jennifer Stayton didn’t miss a beat. She seamlessly rolled into my award. Startled, I’d expected the program to have gone on without me; I’d asked the family to record my big moment. But the BOD had graciously rearranged the schedule. What a truly special moment!
Complete list of President’s Award winners (1999–2018)