This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to take the stage at the Women Who Startup Rally in Denver, CO. The event is a staple of Denver Startup Week, and in all its grandeur and irreverence, the event still managed to shed a few tears -- my own were not the least bit spared.
Thanks to the organization's fearless founder and CEO, Lizelle van Vuuren, the event carried with it the theme, #ourtimeisnow. Go ahead and enter that hashtag and you'll get to dip your toe into what it looked like to be a woman who has started up that night. The theme was also a great reminder to all in attendance that even though change is coming, it's here and now. One speaker after another graced the stage with an emphatic call to arms for everyone in the room -- "our time is now!"
I was last to speak to a room filled with women who, by the time I took the stage to close out the night, were fired up and hungry to seize the day. As I stepped up, my goal was singular - bring this night, this event, and this mission to a safe and unforgettable landing.
Like all keynotes I have presented in the past, the end goal was still the same -- connect and serve with compassion means this has been a successful event. This night was no different. I looked into the audience and shared, for the first time, my truth. "The truth is, my name is Talonya Geary, but my good friends call me "T".
It was the first part of a three part directive I shared with each person in the room -- above all, have a strong sense of self. I paced the stage, from left to right to left again, summoning each person in the room to stand in their own power. "Know thyself". I made it sound easy, and as those two simple words effortlessly flew from out of my mouth and into the ears of sisters (and brothers), I managed to stand a little bit taller myself, and so did the room. As I leaned in to share an emotional defining moment, so did the room. And as I stood up, so did they. And in that brief moment in time, a room full of women agreed, whether silently or through audible words of praise, that our time is now. We knew both the privilege and the responsibility rest in our capable hands.
You could feel the confidence and commitment in that room, a sisterhood quickly and seamlessly galvanized simply by the rare opportunity to go and do. And so there I was, standing tall amongst an already risen room of tomorrow's thought leaders, promising to leverage this night, and unforgettable night, as a defining moment. And in that defining moment, a room full of strangers stood ready to #goDo and lead on purpose.