On March 11th I enjoyed the rare, lucky experience of bringing What I Know Now About Success to life. Trish McEvoy, makeup artist and founder of Trish McEvoy, Mary Lou Quinlan, author and founder of Just Ask A Woman, and Linda Kaplan Thaler, author and founder of The Kaplan Thaler Agency all joined me at the Sony Technology Wonder Lab (just as wonderful as it sounds) for an event sponsored by New York Women in Communication.
In a sign of the wonderful serendipity that infused the night, all three of my guests showed up in a shade of coral-peach. Here they are, sitting in front, with the happy crowd:
You can find everything you need for success from these three, given the wisdom in their letters, which they read aloud, and their frank and often funny comments. Here’s a slideshow of how the event unfolded. (Don’t miss photos of the pretty gift bags from Trish McEvoy, which included a fragrance sampler. My favorite is “Sexy.”)
Mary Lou Quinlan’s letter opens vividly, finding her sitting in the back of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, sobbing. She says she was swaying in her seat “like a distressed homeless person.” She was about to take a job as CEO of NW Ayer—impressive, ground-breaking and exactly what she wanted. But she was crushed that this decision was making her boss and her team unhappy.
“This is the biggest promotion of your life,” she writes to her younger self. “Yet all you can think is: How could I let everyone down?”
The most precious advice to me, someone who turns tail whenever confrontation comes my way, is what Mary Lou says to her younger self about acting on behalf of your own happiness: “When you speak your heart and make changes and choices that are right for you, people understand. Maybe not right away, but they do……Practice speaking your mind and risking that everyone won’t always love you.”
Linda Kaplan Thaler’s letter is about how cancer and getting pregnant improbably led her to establish her high profile advertising agency, the Kaplan Thaler Agency. The letter encompasses the effect of failure and the brilliance of following your gut instinct. “When you accept that you can fail, you can do anything,” she says. Here we are together. Two ladies with bangs!
Trish McEvoy, with her ever generous spirit, played a huge role in introducing me to three other women in What I Know Now About Success: Barbara Walters, Suze Orman and Suzy Welch. She was glowing, having just come from London where Trish McEvoy products are among the most popular cosmetic lines. Her letter is the reminder we all need during difficult times when the path ahead is murky: “Enlist reason over emotion. Keep your head down and look for the solution. There is always a solution.” Gracious and indomitable. A formidable combination.
Thank you for a memorable night, Mary Lou, Linda and Trish. As promised, you made us all feel we can scale the heights that you three have conquered.