Live Your Best 'Bad Ass Boz' life + Notes from the ESPN W Summit
Last month I was lucky enough to attended the ESPN Woman’s summit in Newport Beach, CA…and I feel like I absorbed so much, but I’ve been struggling to organize my thoughts since then. I will start of by saying that it was one of the most well-organized, well-planned, (and might I add, LUXE) summits that I have been to. From the ‘adult-disney-world-esque’ resort it was held at (Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, and yes, I did sneak away and enjoy the day spa) to the impressive range of accomplished presenters and attendees, I knew I was in the presence of some grade-A human beings. So after 3 packed days of speakers, workshops, fitness classes, and an intimate Cheryl Crow concert, this is what I have to say:
Self-love could be the one thing holding you back, or the one thing that caries you forward.
This came to me while listening to Bozoma Saint John, or “Bad Ass Boz” (BAB). Before this summit, I had never heard of her…but it’s funny, because now she’s constantly in my head!
When they called her name to take the stage, a tall, stunning, black woman with hair past her butt stood up, towering over all the ESPN correspondents. She strutted on stage in a skin-tight black leather mini dress, and spiky, leather-coated heels.
*DAMN.* I’m thinking to myself, but hear multiple people around me say out loud. When she gets on stage, and the interviewer asks her first question, “How are you this morning?”, she responds, “Well it’s 9 AM, the sun is shining down on me, and I’m in a leather dress!” The crowd bursts out in laughter, and I knew we were in for a treat, “I am fantastic!”
There are some people that blend nicely into a crowd, and Bozoma is not one of those people. She is aware of that and uses it to her advantage. Bozoma recently became the Chief Brand Officer for Uber. She has had an amazing career leading up to this, (as you could imagine) and the meat of the interview was about her experiences getting to where she is now…mixed in with some of her crazy, but effective tactics* into breaking the glass ceiling both for women, and people of color.
Throughout the entire interview, I was fixated on that fact that, here is this, captivating, sassy, open, confident, voluptuous woman in a leather dress at 9 AM, who has led brand transformations at Pepsi, Beats Music, Apple, and now Uber, and I feel like she could be my best friend…Rather, I WANT her to be my best friend. And not just because she is so wildly successful, but because her confidence literally radiates on to everyone she’s around. It’s contagious! I don’t want her life, but I want to love myself as much as she loves herself.
It does take more than just a little self-love to lead brands like Beats, Pepsi, and now Uber, but I think self-respect and self-love often gets lost in the folds of various diplomas, hours worked overtime, or weekend golf games encouraged by the company C suite. As with any type of weight on your shoulders, whether you’re running a brand, or training for a marathon, self-love and respect can move mountains, and carry you further than you ever expected.
I left the ESPN W Summit exhausted—and with a fat notebook of books to read, quotes, people to follow, swag, but even more valuable, this planted idea in my head of self-love and it’s power. How valuing myself, and never doubting myself, should always be a priority. If I can do just that much, and be aware of that everyday, I know I can self-generate a little of my own BAB Power. (Bad Ass Boz)
*(from above) loosely quoted: “when you have a big presentation that you’re nervous about, I always wear bright, neon colors, and prints. It distracts the hell out of them and all they can focus on is your outfit!!”
New IG followers I picked up:
Bozoma Saint John
“The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean” Susan Casey
“The Devil’s Teeth” Susan Casey
“What Made Maddie Run” Kate Fagen
“Free Cookies” with Kate Fagen + Kathryn Budig