Why and how do we connect with people? What do we look for in a role model? Serving on a panel at the espnW Summit Tuesday gave me more clarity on my own life, the decisions I am making and the confidence to keep BEING: mom, reporter, professional athlete, role model. The women who were sitting with me on our couch on our stage exemplified the word role model. We come from all walks of life: Peg Moline (Natural Health, Fit and Pregnancy Magazine), Donna Carpenter (founder Burton Snowboards), Sage Steele (ESPN SportsCenter host) and Molly Barker (founder Girls on The Run).
I opened up more to a room full of "strangers" than I do with my own family because of the depth and realism in the conversation. We weren't cliche, we talked about insecurities, about untraditional success, our fears, regrets. So how do we as women, and men, help each other and learn from one another? We get deep. We cut the crap. We don't act as if we are any different because I'm on a stage and you are in a folding chair. There were few who left the room with a dry eye because the only way to learn from one another is to let down our guard and talk about our TRUTHFUL journey -- not the fairytale.
What is my truthful journey? I am definitely in the heart of it with some difficult decisions happening in the next few months. But I walked away from espnW's most amazing Summit yet, feeling like I was surrounded by role models in every panel I attended, every workout I sweated out and every glass of wine I shared. And truthfully, those decisions surprisingly became incredibly simple. espnW is here to make the voices, truths and realities of the TRUE role models louder, more visible and more REAL. So it's not just the few hundred at a Summit who benefit.