When all else fails…Lead with a photo and hope the words come.
Tomorrow night, I will emerge from my anti-Halloween cocoon a downtown Diva, a Woman of Words, celebrated with hotel-bar cocktails and a photo slideshow.
Ordinarily, I shun words like maven, guru, diva and ninja. Because, well, they're lame.
But when someone is throwing a cocktail party and wants to call you a diva for the night, you don't turn down the opportunity, and you don't sneer at the name. (See also: Klout's more than a little silly, too, but when they want to offer you presents just for having a big number by your name [ahem, 69 last I checked, thankyouverymuch], you don't turn them down, either. And you're proud to say you have Klout-with-a-capital-K.)
That someone throwing the party: Sarah Vargo, owner of maven, a Chicago-based promotions, publicity and PR firm. And Ms. Vargo doesn't throw the word maven around lightly. I never knew the word maven came from the Yiddish mebhen, which means "one who understands" — but she did. Sarah's got some serious chops in the promotions world, and I'm expecting this to be one hell of a party.
"Diva" isn't some random designation, either. Maven has been celebrating these influential women for more than four years, and every Diva is nominated by another woman who thinks she's deserving of the honor — I woke up last week to a personal invitation from Sarah after Lisa, one of my best friends and a former (forever, actually) diva herself, nominated me to be part of the Women of Words group.
My fellow Divas:
- Amy Litterski
- Ashley Thorpe
- Dani Patarazzi
- Deanna Morales
- Cece Gonzales and Melinda Joseph, who will always go together in my head
- Ka-Sean Lovely Sanders
- Pamela Hsieh
- Jillian Conley
Semi-related secret that's not a secret:
For a long time, I
kind of really disliked other women. Sorority life didn't do much to help that; neither did being more than a little confrontational, potty-mouthed, taller than most and just un-pretty enough to feel like I was competing with absolutely every other girl in the world just to get a glance from a male that was anything but sideways. (How I've since come to see most of those things as a positive is a mystery to me — one I'm happy to let remain unsolved.)
In a former life, I might have taken the opportunity to pre-stalk these ladies, searching for an Achilles heel or bad Facebook photo, to make myself feel better. Or thought about it, anyway.
But Chicago has shown me how smart, supportive and otherwise absolutely fantastic its ladies can be, from female friends who never expect me to be anyone but myself to insanely talented businesswomen who have taught me how to be a better professional and even personally vouched for me to people who are now my clients.
I can't wait to share the spotlight tomorrow night with these hard-working Women of Words who I'm sure are more than deserving of the Diva title — even if it's just for one night. (I know it will be for me.)