“Never doubt what determined women can accomplish,” was the phrase which kept running through my mind last week as I prepared to attend the 3rd annual Financial Women in Texas annual conference. It was my good fortune to be both a member and general session speaker at this conference and when this thought repeated in my mind, I realized the story of what they accomplished can be an inspiration to us all.
Three years ago, a handful of women refused to let go of the professional bonds and friendships developed and built for decade upon decade when our former international organization dissolved in 2009. These leaders focused on what is important about us banding together, found and developed strengths in their team, and took action to rebuild our association.
I have to admit, my first reaction to rebuilding our association was more like a sigh than a cheer of encouragement. It sounded like an overwhelming and far too daunting task, but this group of women changed my tune.
Their determination, strength, and willingness to do the work resulted in so much more than a new association called Financial Women in Texas. They became a beacon of light showing the way to new possibilities, as milestone after milestone was achieved.
Countless hours were spent deciding steps to take, the structure to build, and how to overcome the many obstacles in their path. Their perseverance and energy attracted attention; immediately others stepped in to help, like the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, which gave critical help in our formative phase.
These leaders kept communicating their results to women across Texas as they persuaded and attracted both former and new members to their cause. Within a year, members were attending the first conference as a new association.
At our first conference, I looked around in awe at what they had accomplished. Although fewer people attended conference the first year, the event was expertly produced. Suddenly, I realized the task was achievable and from that point forward I resolved to become a more committed member.
By the second annual conference, former members from other states began attending our conference. This year a few women in neighboring states have joined their nearest local group for monthly meetings as well as the association conference, which gives us hope for growth beyond our borders.
This past weekend at our third annual conference, it is clear we are on our way to becoming strong as an association. Additional associations are sending representatives to our conference, and our membership continues to grow. New members are stepping up to leadership roles in the local groups that make up the association, and there are even a couple new faces leading at the association level.
These strong women who resurrected our organization are very willing to share their strength with more members and have the vision to see how our leadership must be developed to grow our organization. A new region is in the process of forming a local group and hope is high that yet another will form in a few months.
Thank goodness we had so many women willing to see the possibilities, build on strengths in themselves and partnering organizations, and take action. They kept us together, created a model for others to follow, and became a symbol of hope and strength to those both within and outside of our association. They were the inspiration for my presentation last weekend too, as they beautifully illustrated the key components:
- Focus on What’s Important
- Uncover and Develop Strengths
- Take Action
Thank you, ladies. Because of your focus, determination, and willingness to take action, women in Texas have a unique support system. Like so many goals, it wasn’t easy. Fortunately for us, your objective wasn’t ease; instead you strove for something meaningful.
Strong women created an organization that is rapidly growing strength of its own and supporting many of us along the way. This group of strong, determined women has truly made a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
by Margaret Mead US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)