Friday, February 27, 2009

Fifty and Fabulous: Meeting Candance Bushnell

Hello all,

I can't believe it, I'm actually writing a second post this week. It's not that I think I catch up on the writing time I lost, cause I can't! I just have a few things I'd like to share about the New York Women In Communications (NYWIC) ( event, 'New Year, New You.' Considering we are almost into March, I would have gone with a different title, but I get the sentiment they wanted to achieve. The event's keynote speaker was Candace Bushnell (, bestselling author of Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, and Off Fifth Avenue.

Yesterday I trucked down to New York City (something I don't get to do as often as I liked to attend what I expected to be a chic networking event for women professionals of all ages. I asked my girlfriends Catherine and Matie to join me. This was my first NYWIC event. We all looked forward to the event and hanging out in the city afterwards (Last night was what I envisioned my twenties, being like. I'm 30 and finally doing it, but I digress.)

We all met up at Diane Von Furstenburg's studio on 14th Street. There were over 200 female professionals in attendance. After about 40 minutes of so-called networking, Candance was introduced. She stepped onto the small staging area looking like a Barbie, pretty in pink. It was hard to believe she was fifty years-old (something she was proud to put out there). Maybe Botox isn't that bad. I won''t hate because if I look that good in twenty years I'll be doing the same thing. Candace gets two thumbs up.

Her speech was short but she said some really interesting things about the career choices she made. One that stuck with me was that she knew she wasn't going to get married and settle down until she published her first novel. She put her career first - no ifs, ands, or buts. Today, so many everyday women struggle to balance family responsibilities with their jobs and careers. Candance's road to her success was to forgo the latter. I wonder how many other female ceos, producers, and business executives put off having families to be at the top of the food chain. Is it a prerequisite?

Candace also told us she didn't marry until she was 43 (and to a man 10 years younger than her). She also weaved in some comments that all women professionals need to be more supportive of each other. I thought that was good to put out there, because it is common place for women to hate on other women and hinder each others progress.

There was a short Q&A after Candace talked. I asked Candace what her common thread was in her success from transitioning from a freelance writer to becoming a bestselling novelist and executive T.V. producer. She told me, "Sharpening pencils." It wasn't the answer I was expecting or looking for, she further explained that a lot of her success had to do with being good at whatever task she was given. "People need to see you can work well with the simplest of tasks and if you gain there trust you'll eventually move up and get better opportunities (paraphrased)." I got what she was driving at, but both Matie and Catherine felt she could have given a better answer. I think they're right, but I was still able to take something good away from her response.

I think about what the top will look like for me. How will I define my own success? All I know is I have a lot of work to do, but I take pride in knowing that if I put in the time and continue to work hard that one day I will persevere and eventually reach some of my goals as a screenwriter and beyond.

By the way Candace isn't the only women who makes my fifty and fabulous category. I would be remiss if I didn't mention my mom (the women who made my life possible).

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