Experiencing the Power of Vulnerability at Women of the Channel West

Attending and presenting at this year’s Women of the Channel West was an incredible experience that left a profound impact on me. This event provided an amazing platform for women to connect, share our stories, and amplify each other’s voices. Having the opportunity to share my story on stage to a room full of so many admirable, successful women was a huge moment for me in many ways.

This wasn’t my first rodeo at a Women of the Channel event. At Women of the Channel East, I participated in a panel discussion where I spoke about the Televerde story, our business model, and I shared part of my own story. It was a rewarding experience, and the response was positive, with many people reaching out after the event to connect with our team and learn more about Televerde. However, this time was different in a big way. The last time I was up on stage, I was one part of a larger conversation, and the focus was more on Televerde and less on my personal story – it was high level and quick. This time around, my colleague Michelle Cirocco and I had a 30-minute keynote to dive deep into our stories. It was way outside of my comfort zone.

I’ll tell you right now that sharing my story wasn’t easy. I’ve talked about my past before, but never in such detail or in front of so many people. I’ve always made a point throughout my career not to hide my past, or to run away from being vulnerable, but this experience was daunting. Still, I knew the best way to get through it was to lean in.

Michelle and I decided to take a chronological approach, comparing our journeys over the past decades and talking about the ways in which they overlapped. Michelle’s journey started ten years before mine, so while she was already turning her life around, I was still navigating the problems that led to my incarceration. I talked about my addiction, my time in prison, and the struggles of rebuilding my life. It was raw and real, and afterward, I felt incredibly exposed. Truthfully, I felt like I was on the verge of a full-blown identity crisis. But it was, so, so worth it.

The response was overwhelming. I thought the response our presentation received at Women of the Channel East was spectacular, but this was a totally different experience. So many people came up to us afterward to share their own stories, or those of their family members, and to tell us how our talk had moved them. It was heartwarming to see how our vulnerability gave others the courage to open up about their own experiences and struggles. One woman who attended the event shared a video about how inspiring our talk was, and it went viral within the community. Seeing people not just liking but sharing our story was mind-blowing, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity to make such an impact.

One thing that stuck with me was something my colleague Vince Barsolo said when I was struggling with the exposure. He told me there’s a big difference between pity and pride. I have never wanted my past to define me. I want people to recognize me for the person I am today, and after talking to Vince, I saw that people weren’t feeling sorry for me; they were proud of what I’d overcome. That helped me reframe the experience and made my interactions after our keynote even more valuable.

The whole point of sharing our stories is to show that transformation is possible. At Televerde, we’re not just about hitting business targets; we’re about changing lives. Our team is filled with amazing women who have turned their lives around and are now top performers, not only within our own company but they move on to crush their roles at other prominent organizations, too. We deliver outstanding results for our clients and partners, and in return, they have positively impacted the lives of thousands of women, helping them to achieve personal and professional success after incarceration.

Reflecting on this experience, I realize the power of vulnerability. Yes, it was tough, but it was also empowering. Sharing my journey helped others feel brave enough to share theirs, and that’s something special. If you want to learn more about Televerde, our story, and our business model, connect with me. Let’s keep the conversation going!

We also have an upcoming webinar on June 12, featuring our fabulous director of CX and Revenue Operations, Ashley McDonald. She’ll be joined by podcaster, CEO, and CX guru, Brian Moran for a 45-minute conversation about delivering a better customer experience. You won’t want to miss it! Click here to register

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