I consider myself fortunate to be surrounded by talent. This week’s AAC post is from a rising star within DELP and the Association community. Her name is Artesha Moore and she’s Senior Director of Membership and Technology Services for APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in Washington, DC. Artesha is a member of the 2010-2012 DELP class and one of the most honest, straightforward people you’ll ever want to meet. It took a little
arm-twisting friendly persuasion to get her to write a post for me, but in the end, it was worth it.
Almost six years ago, I started to hide my authentic professional self in order to fit into someone else’s perception of a successful executive. My authentic style is driven, analytical, people-oriented, down-to-earth, fun and funny. Some of these traits were not seen as professional or entrepreneurial. Instead, I was expected to bury my colorful, vibrant personality and uniqueness to become an executive clone (think of the robots in Will Smith’s movie I, Robot). Being ambitious and driven, I tried to do just that. I failed horribly, which resulted in anxiety, lack of confidence and feeling that I was losing my true self.
At the beginning of 2010, I decided it was time to get back me. I also wanted to find other association executives who could share ideas to help me reach my goals. I decided to apply for ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP). During the application process, I decided that whether or not I was accepted, I would apply as Artesha and not as the robot clone. I completed the application with gusto! Funny thing, after going through the process, I could not go back the clone version of me. It felt good to bring myself to the table; no more hiding for me.
When I got the acceptance letter, I actually cried. The tears symbolized the cleansing of my spirit, as well as the feeling of being accepted for who and what I am. I felt empowered, challenged and inspired. DELP does not change you; instead, it gives you an opportunity to connect and shine. It is really up to you. You get out of the program what you put into it. However, if you want personal and professional growth, the opportunity is there.
Today, I am more confident in my own skin at work. I walk with more confidence and pride and business intelligence than I did as the robot clone. It has caused some of my colleagues to treat me differently, not always fondly, since I reconnected with my authentic voice. I no longer look to them for approval; instead, I am a part of a rich community that embraces and encourages me. DELP has helped me connect with new ideas, new energy and new ways to shine.
As Anna Quinden says “the thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself“. I would go a step further and say that finding a community that accepts and encourages you for who and what you are is truly amazing!
Applications for the 2011-2013 DELP class are due Friday March 18. If you’re interested in learning more about the program or would like to apply, please visit the DELP section of the ASAE website: http://www.asaecenter.org/Community/content.cfm?ItemNumber=45968