In 1961, Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the Commission on the Status of Women with the purpose of documenting and eliminating discrimination against women in the workforce, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave and affordable child care. The Commission only lasted two years, and today, it is hard to imagine that such a federal agency even needed to be created. Today's woman is free to work. She works equally alongside men. She is a CEO, a doctor, a judge, a business owner, a military veteran, while also filling the role of mother, wife, sister, daughter and best friend. Today's woman can run the PTA, coach a soccer team, and lead Bible study - and I personally believe she does it fabulously.
In this day and age of 6 am-conference calls, protein bar lunches, and multiple Starbucks runs, there's only one way to stay ahead of the pack. Let me explain a term that I have come to know, live, and love: pro-fashionalism. Pro-fashionalism is the unique and marvelous combination of wit, grace and polished execution of tasks in the workplace. It is a trait that every working gal should master.It's knowing that the power suit that got you through your dream interview doesn't have to be Yves Saint Laurent if you have a talented tailor in your back pocket.It's winning over your boss with those extra heel Band-Aids that you always have in your Stella & Dot tote. Pro-fashionalism doesn't mean working untilmidnight 6 nights a week or skipping church on Sunday in order to meet a deadline. It means delegating and hiring only the smartest and most-skilled co-workers who not only love to help you, but also love to chat about The Bachelorduring coffee breaks. When utilized correctly, pro-fashionalism enables you to climb the ladder in your favorite pair of heels.
Not only does pro-fashionalism apply in the work place; it's also a state of mind that extends into other aspects of life. Let's face it: you can have the gig that pays the money, but every smart woman knows that if it's not a job you're passionate about, then you're a girl that simply doesn’t have it all. Pro-fashionals know that in order to succeed, you must do what you love, combine your passions with your skill-set, and the rest will eventually fall into place. Finally, in order to be your happiest and most successful self, you must foster relationships outside the office with other amazing beings. Whether you're a wife, a girlfriend, or a single gal doing her best to be a fabulous friend, it's important to surround yourself with other like-minded people who support your ambitious endeavors and will go through the ups and downs with you. After all, anyone can ride next to you in the limo, but what you really want is someone to walk with you when the limo breaks down.
Pro-fashionals are dynamic in their own right. They can work the 9-to-5, bring home the bacon and cook dinner for their family, but know the best restaurants in town for to-go tiramisu. My challenge to women is this: don't let the fusion of grace, skill and compassion fizzle out of corporate America. Set goals and reach them, but do it with the pro-fashional mantra: stepping on people to climb to the top of the ladder will only scuff your Italian leather soles.