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RRCC’s Women’s Empowerment series ends with a bang; Confidence is the key takeaway

LAPLACE — The third and final session of the River Region Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Empowerment Conversations ended on a high note this week via Zoom videoconferencing with valuable insight from keynote speaker Sharon Beason.

The virtual platform did not inhibit Beason from forming valuable connections with the women of the River Parishes. Her spunk and charisma were palpable through the screen as she taught women about the intrinsic link between confidence and authenticity. She further explained how these qualities are stepping-stones to professional success.

Aspen S. Murphy

Aspen S. Murphy, 2020 Chairwoman for the River Region Chamber of Commerce, was the creative mind behind the Women’s Empowerment Conversations. Murphy delivered the welcome while Stacey Gautreau of title sponsor Dow introduced Beason as the keynote speaker.

The first time Gautreau encountered Beason, she immediately took note of her mismatched earrings and a prominent tattoo that said, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.” Her charisma and powerful words were equally bold, and Gautreaux knew she would be a perfect speaker for the Women’s Empowerment series.

Beason began her career as an accounting professional and eventually left the corporate world to become an entrepreneur. She founded Brooklyn, New York’s first concierge company in 2006 and went on to serve as the director of the Downtown Women’s Club. In 2015, Beason founded WOMENEUR to provide resources, advice and motivation to women entrepreneurs.

Beason told the ladies in the Women’s Empowerment Conversations that confidence is defined as “a strong belief in oneself.”

“It is the conviction that you have the ability to meet life’s challenges and succeed and the willingness to act accordingly,” Beason said. “Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge. Confidence to me is all about being authentic – knowing what you want, knowing who you are and owning it 100 percent.”

According to Beason, confidence boosts professional opportunities and access to leadership roles. It helps women control their destiny and foster more authentic relationships.

“When you’re confident, people will listen to you,” Beason said. “If you have people’s attention, you can empower and influence.”

Confidence may show in clothing or a self-assured stride. However, Beason said confidence ultimately comes from one’s mind. She said it is okay to have days of low confidence as long as you assess that feeling and take steps to change it.

Confidence destroyers might include lack of sense of self, fear of leaving the comfort zone, overthinking or comparing yourself to others. Beason said other confidence destroyers could be your conditioned upbringing, such as societal rules and sexism, taking failing personally, seeking external praise or self-judgment.

Having a fake persona can also lead to low confidence, and Beason said the goal is to have the same authenticity online and in real life.

Ingredients to confidence include showing up unapologetically, taking up space and creating visibility by holding your head and chin up and maintaining eye contact. Beason encouraged women to go against the grain, understand their core values, and reframe their mindsets by thinking positive and setting achievable goals.

One example that she gave is going to a networking event and, instead of being overwhelmed by the crowded room, setting a goal to make meaningful connections with two people.

Beason empowered the ladies in the videoconference by telling them to discover their strengths and assess where to apply those strengths to their skillsets. She is an advocate for being assertive, facing fears and making self-care a priority, especially during COVID-19.

“Boundaries are the highest form of self-love and self-respect. You will be more effective if you take some time for yourself,” she said.

According to Beason, confidence helps build a personal brand that will allow a woman to form larger networks and establish credibility. Some ways to promote a personal brand are through Instagram, LinkedIn, networking or a one page website. Digital footprints represent a mix of family, work and social life.

Anjenea Mitchell of the River Region Chamber of Commerce said the final Women’s Empowerment Conversations session was perfect for women looking to build an authentic brand.

She added that her main takeaway of the session was the motto, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.”

“Can’t stop, won’t stop means to build yourself up in only a way that you can.  What do you want in life?  What makes you happy?  Who do you want to be?  Those are questions that we should ask ourselves daily.  If we can think it, we can believe, and if we can believe it – we can most definitely achieve it!” Mitchell said.

In her October column, River Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chassity McComack said Chairwoman Aspen Murphy’s vision, passion and heart brought the Women’s Empowerment Conversations to fruition.

“The speakers were all dynamic and left a mark of encouragement, inspiration and, well, conversation on key issues affecting women leaders today,” McComack said.