By Alexandra Dickinson, Director and Chief of Staff at Beekeeper Group, and co-Dean of the DC Chapter of the Awesome Foundation
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations
“Do Your Best.” A friend and colleague of mine gave me a pennant with those words that now hangs above my computer on my desk. Slightly to the right of that pennant is an equally important reminder: my Washington Women in Public Relations 2014 Emerging Leaders Award.
Despite my efforts to always act as a role model for my peers, to do unto others as I would have done unto me, I sometimes fall short. Busy schedules, growing and unwieldy to-do lists, and a paralyzing bout of procrastination occasionally get in my way. When these things happen, it’s easy to fall into the trap of apologizing for your shortcomings, and writing it off at that.
For me, I’ve started to take a new approach, thanks in no small part to WWPR’s very kind recognition. Being accepted as a leader in anything feels good, there’s no doubt about that; but being recognized as an emerging leader feels like an honest embrace of the important process of self-awareness and growth.
In our industry presentation and immediate reactions makes a big difference. We work to embody the very best of our clients, and to communicate their messages as clearly as possible. But more often than not, circumstances change. Doing public affairs work in a digital landscape means constantly adapting to new trends, new voices, and new ideas.
Because of this constant state of change, leaders need to be nimble. Leaders also need to recognize that their ability to inspire is only as good as their ability to grow. At its core, this growth requires the recognition that you aren’t perfect. You will make mistakes, but as long as you can grow, and adapt, you can lead. In the end, that kind of growth is what being an emerging leader is all about.
When Beekeeper Group partner and Queen Bee, Shana Glickfield, nominated me for the award, I was humbled; but when I attended the event with all of the other Emerging Leaders, I was in awe. The five other nominees had each already achieved incredible things in their careers, and hearing their stories, it was clear that they would all go on to accomplish much more.
Being included in such an esteemed group was a huge honor, but more than that, it was a reminder of the power of numbers: our industry may seem competitive on the surface, but in reality, it’s cooperative. Standing next to a group of amazing, and unstoppable women, will motivate anyone to do their best, and to help others grow, and emerge, into leaders themselves.
In the end, being recognized as an Emerging Leader meant more than a regular award for me; it was a tacit recognition of all that we can achieve when we work and grow together.