by Paula Dezzutti Hewlette
In my mid-twenties I performed an exercise to complete the sentence, WHO I AM IS…….. And from that soul searching response came the revelation that who I am was “POSSIBILITY!” I was dedicated to igniting inspiration and possibility to the entire planet through my actions as well as my spoken and written word. I realized with distinction that the brands that are strong enough to become market leaders are an extension of the creators who are strong enough to BE market leaders. But I took the time to figure out clearly, down to one word, who I really was.
As the birth mother of nine children, who managed to breakthrough all traditional boundaries, I was once featured in Today’s Woman with a caption of “No Excuses…Good Thing!” My diary and speaking platform, Laughter Thru Tears, is a chronicle of experiences I have undertaken and recorded for decades of a career dating back to child hood: everything from Miss National Teenager to the University of Connecticut Psychology Fellowship to current International Spirits Competitions. I adapted for myself a distinctive, almost magical platform to merge philanthropy and business from my very core, and that authentic space is a leadership model prompting us all to be more accountable, more transparent, more aware and more prosperous!
Partnering with the greatest gurus in leadership I know I have learned and shared three key messages.
1. BE YOURSELF FIRST: From our core, we are people first, product second and last but, certainly, not least process. First an idea is born then it is nurtured and developed into a product ready for the marketplace. While critical to success, it’s not only passion that transforms a product into a brand; it is the purpose and the people behind its creation. Make sure your own unique ability is shining through in your brand building. Think Mahatma Gandhi.
2. BE A LEADER: When brands hit the marketplace they are a reflection of the artisan’s original intention. These individuals have the capacity to stay true to themselves, inspired by their passions and fueled by their purpose. Passion will rise and wane, but purpose will never be extinguished. Think Martin Luther King, JR.
3. BE A WARRIOR: With a commitment to core values, emerging leaders are able to pursue brand goals with persistence especially in heated times of competition or desperation. No man is an island nor should he be. When the going gets tough those of us who have followed rule number one are going to have developed a lot of strategic relationships and will have ingratiated themselves into the heart and souls of people who really care about them because they took the time initially to share themselves. “No matter what!” has to become your mantra, no matter how long it takes. Do whatever you have to in order to get the resources you need to move forward, no matter how dire the circumstances may seem to be. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it simply transfers form. Think Nelson Mandela.