In Anna’s shoes: I decided not to stay where I was.

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Natalie, or Narae as I’ve always known her, was the one to reach out and invite me to the “Power Brunch.” I accepted on a whim, thinking it’d be a nice change of pace from the male-dominated networking events I was familiar with.

That was all I really thought of the event until the day finally came around. But on the day of, my inner voices flooded me with one self-defeating question after another. What if everyone attending was already in a ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ kind of pact? Would I be able to contribute anything to such an accomplished group of women?

Remembering the wise words J.P.Morgan: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are,” I shrugged off my insecurities and headed to Dejavu Tailors’ art studio, the venue kindly loaned to us by the owner, Kai. When I arrived, he was downstairs hard at work, but never failed to welcome each of us with a warm smile. I made my way to the second floor and was blown away by the ambiance of the room. Guests were greeted by a grand piano and paintings by Rosie O’Donnell.

At the far right of the gallery was our brunch setup. Both Ellie and Natalie showered their considerable attention to detail. The tables were set with teal table linens, plastic champagne flutes, and mini chalkboard stands.

I run the risk of sounding cheesy, but our group was as colorful as the paintings we were surrounded by. As we went around introducing ourselves, it was clear that the variety wasn’t limited to the clothing we wore and the industries we worked in. It was the culmination of New York’s diversity in one room. But, while we differed in our countries of origin or the stages in our careers, our underlying goals were one and the same. These were a group of women, committing every day, to make life easier and better for someone. Some were dedicated to finding ethical and eco-friendly methods of production, another woman was pursuing a career in midwifery.

These were women that seemed to have a clear vision of a better world for their children, their colleagues and friends.

The word for September’s Power Brunch Sunday was renewal. Merriam Webster defines renewal as “the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again.” And in a sense, as I left the event, I did feel renewed…reinvigorated, rejuvenated! Renewal fits the symbolism of the month to a tee. With the autumn equinox, it is a month marking transition, growth, and getting back to the daily grind. Too often, as we return from our summer holidays, we get stuck in a lull. This event was my kick back to reality. It reminded me of where I am, where I need to be, and the work I need to put in to get there.

It renewed my commitment to remaining humble, but to never stop learning, never stop improving. A single connection can change your life. Wherever you are in life, there is always something to be learned!

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Audre Lorde once said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Truer words have never been spoken. The Team behind Walking in Other People’s Shoes supports and stands in solidarity with the Black community. From George Floyd to Breonna Taylor to Atatiana Jefferson, and many more names. There have been far too many race-induced police brutalities for us to remain silent.

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