#WomanUpDC

Guest Post by Samantha Villegas, APR, SaviPR

I was recently honored as a finalist for Washington Woman in PR’s Woman of the Year Award. Their theme was #WomanUp, a phrase that means many things to many people.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, once offered some insight into the way I interpret what it means to “Woman Up.” In an interview, some years after she was promoted to president of the company, she relayed her experience sharing this important career milestone with her mother. She says the day she was promoted, she got home, got in the house and said to everyone who was in earshot, “I’ve got great news for you.”

Her Mom quickly replied, “It can wait. We need you to go out and get some milk.”

So, Indra, the newly-minted president of a multi-billion dollar global company, dutifully went out and bought the milk. But when she got back she says she was “hopping mad” and she told her mother, “I had great news for you. I’ve just been named president of PepsiCo. And all you want me to do is go out and get milk.”

To which her mother replied, “You may be president of PepsiCo, but when you step into this house, you’re a wife and mother first. Nobody can take that place. So leave that crown in the garage.”

Indra goes on to say “no matter who we are, or what we do, nobody can take our place in our families.”

It is this sentiment that so encapsulates “Woman Up” to me. Many of us, in addition to slaying PR dragons all day, we are mothers, wives, sisters, friends, employees, bosses and volunteers. Indra says it’s impossible to be all things to everyone all the time.

I agree, and it’s okay. I revel in the opportunity to try. I think it’s extraordinary that women have such capacity to uniquely be so many things to so many people, including ourselves. I love this juggling of our roles each day. One moment we’re negotiating a contract, then we’re driving the carpool of kids, then leading the board meeting, and then, when we get home after a long day, we tend to our families, as only WE can.

It’s exhausting of course, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my multiple roles and the opportunity to play them. So each day, I wake up and “Woman Up” to be as successful as I can at each. That means going after everything I want and nothing I truly don’t; it means defining success on my own terms; and not beating myself up for what I miss, get wrong, or don’t fully achieve.

I can’t and don’t do it alone. It takes cooperation from my kids and partnership and mutual respect from my husband. It also takes all of my friends, coworkers, colleagues and mentors helping me, guiding me, supporting and advising me.

Any success, honor or achievement I have – and especially being a Woman of the Year finalist – is because of the network I have been fortunate enough to have built. I cherish it all, and encourage all DC area women to embrace their many roles and “Woman Up!”