I want a lunch date with Hillary Clinton. She is poised, accomplished, and strong enough to transcend attacks on her appearance and femininity. Her grit inspires me, and I would give away a thousand Klondike bars for a chance to know her off-camera.
My first day at the Koru career bootcamp, when asked who in the world I would most like to have lunch with, I apologized for wanting to meet Clinton. I prefaced my statement by wondering aloud if my answer was boring and hoping it wasn’t too political.
Kristen Hamilton, Koru CEO and a personal role model, looked me deep in the eye and told me to never apologize for my ideas. I bit back an apology for apologizing and stammered an agreement. She was right, and I knew it. Through this experience and countless others, Koru pushed me to build confidence in myself so I could own my ideas. As the program forged ahead, I found myself declaring my thoughts rather than allowing them to slide off my tongue and cower in the corner.
By the third week of Koru, we were chin-deep in the process of developing a solution to a problem faced by zulily, a company Koru partnered with in June. One day, I was struck by inspiration. In my excitement, I found myself climbing on top of a chair, where the idea burst from me. My teammates looked at me in what I imagine was surprise before glancing at each other, smiling and nodding. The idea was good, but more importantly, it was delivered with confidence and enthusiasm.
As Marianne Williamson pointed out, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” (from A Return to Love, 1992).
Koru helped me embrace my inner fabulous and allow it to shine through. If I didn’t believe in myself, how did I think that I could convince a potential employer to believe in me? The confidence I gained in four short weeks has launched me into a career search where I am able to be my own advocate. Plus, if I’m asked in an interview who in the world I most want to join for lunch, I know exactly what to do.