Those that know me on a deep, personal level, know that I get very excited about my work and about creating value. I haven’t always been this way and I’ve had to learn how to seek out uncomfortable situations in order to grow and gain confidence in my work. Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ms. Ebony Offord, Lease Accountant at Dow Inc. Now I initially saw Ms. Offord on a Dow webcast as she facilitated Dow’s Global African Affinity Network 20th Anniversary Celebration as we celebrated 20 years of enriching the contributions of our workforce, building a strong talent pipeline and promoting advocacy & inclusion for all employees at Dow.
Ms. Offord recently shared her thoughts on “Public Speaking” and many of us work every day to improve on our ability to communicate across large audiences. Here is her testimony:
“Tell me about a time you failed.” I dreaded that statement in interviews. Of course I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve always been able to correct them. I hadn’t been met with a challenge in my academic or professional career yet that planning and overtime couldn’t resolve. That was before I discovered how challenging #PublicSpeaking was (for me). This year, I decided to take every opportunity presented to me, no matter how big or small, to do just that. Louis Toussaint Jr., Contract Administrator and advocate for EH&S at #Dow’s LAO, compared it to lifting weights. “Every time you practice, that’s another repetition. Keep doing reps. Add plates to the bar. You’ll get stronger.” So I joined #Toastmasters, I accepted when I was called to speak, and I even volunteered a few times. Yesterday, I facilitated a 20+ person meeting and got almost zero interaction. Did it feel like a fail? Yes. Do I feel defeated? Not even close. I completed another rep, I’m getting stronger, and... I have a story to tell in an interview. Your inadequacies may not grow to be strengths, but with repetition, you can eliminate them as a weakness.
Ms. Offord, those plates that you’ve added over the last several months have made you a force to be reckoned with! Stay focused and keep on “Weight Training”!!