My new favorite person: Jill Salzman

New term: "Impostor Syndrome."Coined in the late '70s by a pair of psychologists — and not to be confused with this, which is actually the belief that a loved one has been replaced by an evil doppelganger — Impostor Syndrome an inability to internalize your accomplishments. Basically: Attributing your success to blind luck and good fortune instead of the hard work you did to get yourself there.

Jill Salzman does not have Impostor Syndrome.

She's the real deal. Jill, a self-professed serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is a resource for "mompreneurs" called Founding Moms, understands that the success that’s come to her has been a result of her determination and infectious enthusiasm for every cause she's thrown her weight behind. Jill knows, plus or minus a few butts, exactly how much ass she kicks.

I'd been reading Jill's tweets and Facebook postingsfor months before I saw her speak at the SPARK Women conference during TechWeek, and I'm not sure what I expected going into it…but she surprised me. The woman had me in stitches the entire time, and gave me a whole lot of think about. She told the packed room stories about her ventures — using maybe the simplest PowerPoint presentation I've ever seen; bless you, madam — including the time she invented a publication to get press access to an event she was dying to attend. (She got it, by the way, and rubbed elbows with Eddie Vedder. Rule No. 1 of Entrepreneurship: Make shit up.)

Her utter superiority as a human being wasn't off putting, even for a second, because she somehow balanced it with this grace and humor and self-deprecation that were so completely charming I could hardly deal with it.

 

SELF-LOATHING SIDEBAR. When Saya Hillman invited me to talk at a CRAVE Chicago event back in early June, I knew I wanted to speak off the cuff, tell my story in a way that people would remember. Well, people do remember me, but I think it's because I was a basket case. And I'm not being self-deprecating — I actually remember my inner monologue screaming, "Paige. SHUT UP!!!" as I babbled on and on about God only knows what. The number of time I mentioned boys in front of that room full of female professionals… Oy.

 

Jill did not ramble. She gave a talk at SPARK Women that I dream of giving one day. She has the confidence I dream of having and the results to back it up. (She also has the husband, the kids and that life I dream of…and despite the fact that her newest business caters to mothers, none of her stories revolved around that part of her life — something I can admire in a culture of "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME" mom bloggers.)

And I think everyone who heard her speak that day was feeling some version of what I was. The woman's got balls, something every woman could use a bit more of. That entire room of women wanted to be Jill Salzman — until she made them realize what they really wanted was to be better versions of themselves.