Pretty much the proudest professional moment of my life occurred recently when I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting run by Lauren, the daughter of my hometown pastor, who founded an I AM THAT GIRL (IATG) local chapter in Austin. It was the first time I saw our local chapters in action. I have to admit that I was embarrassingly nervous walking up in front of this intimidatingly beauty-full group of 17 girls. Now I could write an entire blog on how much Lauren blew me away with the personal touch and creativity she brought to the meeting, but it was so much more than that.
Humbly, I realized just how irrelevant I was to this group. Rereading that statement it seems like a negative thing, but it's actually quite the opposite. Emily, my soul sister and co-founder, has always said, "We want I AM THAT GIRL to be so much bigger than us Lex, we want IATG to work without us, so that we are irrelevant to whether she lives or dies." It was in that moment I realized the vision she had was so much bigger than my own. I can only imagine that a mother must feel the same way the moment her daughter or son leaves for college. She's spent an entire lifetime loving, supporting, encouraging, teaching, and protecting them, only to one day have that confident baby bird be ready to fly on its own.
A happy sigh overcame me as I realized that it was these marvelous, brave, and compassionate girls’ time to shine, to carry the torch that Emily and I initially ignited. Together, we breathed life into the vision, spent endless nights brainstorming over pizza, and gushing over the fact that we were going to the White House. The concept that comes to mind is legacy. Real success to me is building something that far outlives you, that people talk about lifetimes after you.
Emily and I may get credit for founding IATG, but it speaks nothing to the 23 nameless interns who worked diligently out of my apartment for the first several months, bearing the brunt of our rookie mistakes. It doesn’t capture Cece, our phenomenal social media guru; Kate, our badass local chapter director; Morgan, our exquisite senior editor who makes me sound far more eloquent than I really am; Lauren, Camellia, and Katie, our three most recent interns; not to mention all of the courageous girls who have stepped up to the plate to lead our local chapters. IATG has many faces and an unfathomable amount to come. I can only imagine that at some point, when I’m old in my bed, that a young woman will walk in and tell me a story of when IATG came into her life and the role she had in weaving her unique thread into the organization’s tapestry.
Maybe the whole point of life is to pour into something that matters. So this blog is for you, whoever you are, to thank you for allowing me to be but a cog in the IATG wheel and allowing me to add my unique splash of color to this awesome mural. Thank you for playing your role, whether just an online reader, a sometimes contributor, a staff member, intern, local chapter leader or member; we are what we are because of you. May we all be part of something bigger than ourselves and smothered in IATG war paint as we fight for our sisters and our sisters to come.
Images courtesy of Avsvat.com, Campus-to-career.com