By Claire Charamnac, Women LEAD Co-Founder and Executive Director, US
November is the National Blog Posting Month, a project hosted by BlogHer where bloggers respond to a different prompt every day. We’ll be using BlogHer’s prompts as well as The Blogging School’s prompts.
Today’s prompt is:
Share your professional “aha moment.” What was the defining moment that most dramatically changed the course of your career?
When I graduated from university in the summer of 2011, I had the choice between looking for jobs or making my position at Women LEAD full-time. My co-founder and I were running our second annual summer Leadership Institute, but we had not yet decided if we wanted to officially launch Women LEAD as an organization, and take on full-time positions as Executive Directors.
There were clear rational arguments for taking the plunge and working on Women LEAD full-time: the need for our organization, the girls we wanted to keep on working with, my co-founder, and the amazing support of my family and friends. But finally, it was my intuition that ended up convincing me to follow my passion and was a turning point in my career.
I woke up one night at 3 AM, absolutely sure that doing Women LEAD was what I needed to do. I couldn’t sleep until 7 AM, even waking my sister up to tell her of my decision. In some ways, it felt like an inevitable step in my life. I had to do it; there was a pull I could not ignore.
From August 2011 on wards, I threw myself into my work for Women LEAD. Claire stayed in Nepal to run our office there and our programs, while I stayed in the US to focus on our fundraising and outreach efforts. As with anything you put out into the world, I was terrified of the reaction I would get back: how would people respond to our idea? Would they take us seriously? How would this all work in the end?
It also felt terrifying going down this road that no one around me had gone down before, and which was not the expected road for a 22 year old to take. There was so much safety in taking a traditional job, getting my monthly paycheck, and receiving directions from a boss. But I knew I would regret it if I didn’t try to make Women LEAD into the organization I knew it could be.
Despite multiple unexpected challenges, we are proud of what we have accomplished in the past year. Our team has empowered more than 200 young women in Kathmandu through our new yearlong program and we have established offices in the US and Nepal.
I am surrounded by people who inspire me with their hard work and selflessness: from my co-founder, to our staff, to volunteers, to our supporters. No matter where my social entrepreneurship path leads me, I’ll never regret having started Women LEAD.