This is my Thank You. To every single woman at the Lean In Conference.

Even if we missed sitting next to each other or sharing a bus ride, your presence mattered. You were here for a reason. Maybe not the same as mine, but you were wanting something more too . . . or you’d have stayed home.

I’m really, really happy you didn’t.

I was to be on a flight at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning, heading back to Florida. On the second day of the conference, after listening to Jill’s message of spending time where it needed to be spent, I knew I wanted to stay until the end. “Complete the circle” as Rhonda said last night.

She was right.

And here is why:

For a long time I had a yearning to do something special that was uniquely mine.  I kept thinking it would suddenly materialize in my universe, if not this week, then next.   If not next week, then next month.  If not next month, certainly next year.

Then I turned 60.

I had this sinking feeling that I’d shown up at the Banquet Of Life with a cocktail napkin instead of a dinner plate.  I’d sampled the hors d’oeuvres but missed out on the lobster thermidor and beef tenderloin.

And I realized I was still hungry.

So before another birthday passed I dumped the napkin, grabbed a dinner plate and got back in line.

That was the start of my new Chapter.

And . . . no pun intended . . . I began to write. It was the best way to find my voice again.

My website says, “Where do you start? You just start.” Goli reminded me of that when she said, You start wherever you are.”

I signed up for the YPO/WPO Lean In Conference because I wanted to engage my brain.  Be around smart women.  Motivated women.  I needed a huge drink from the Venus Fountain because I was pretty darned thirsty.

Yet when I was getting ready to leave for Las Vegas, those fears and nagging doubts crept in. That little voice in my head wondering . . . can I still relate or will I be the dinosaur at the party?

Thanks to Maureen, I recognize that voice as a leaf on the skinny branch.

My husband knew I was a little nervous and when my plane landed in Las Vegas I had this text from him: Find one idea. One person. That’s all you need to do.

It calmed me. Finding one would be easy.

I had no idea I’d find 70!

SEVENTY pairs of fresh eyes with a new perspective. Women of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. All with stories to share. All of us connecting on some level.

Kara and Jeanette, it was magical. Thank you.

I think we are all writing another Chapter . . . the next Chapter  . . . whatever it may be.  And as those Chapters are written they’ll inspire ideas and  offer hope to someone else who is struggling to know where to begin.

It’s what we were talking about.  Women helping women.  People helping people.

If you have a story, I’d be honored if you’d like to share it here.  I promise you.  It will resonate with someone who needs a boost.  Someone on that skinny branch who isn’t sure if it will hold or not.  Someone who needs your message to keep them moving forward.

It’s a way to continue the magic.

The skinny branch I was on?  It didn’t get stronger.

But I did.

All because of you.

Thank you.