Everyone has a story.
There are 29 women who are attending session #249 of the National Academy. We comprise different facets of Law Enforcement from the United States, Greece, Australia and Taiwan but we have a common thread as female police officers. We've spent the last 3 weeks exchanging polite salutations and our professional status. One of the women took the initiative and arranged a dinner exclusively for the female officers.
At first I was indifferent about the dinner. It was just another event to fill in a time block on my calendar. And then someone suggested that each of us stand up and introduce ourselves and offer something unique about who we are -- something we wouldn't learn from a resume.
I had introduced myself so many times in front of my classmates since being at the NA and I'm normally not shy or nervous about such things. But in front of these women, I was. What they think of me sincerely matters and I felt so humbled to be in the presence of so many woman who have broken through barriers in their organizations.
Their faces are a reflection of how far our profession has come and I loved watching these women come to life, one by one, when they spoke about their passions and their challenges. These women were just colleagues before our dinner together and now I can see the beginnings of friendships being forged. It's funny how first impressions are so often wrong and by taking the time to look past our initial judgements (good or bad), we begin to see the real person.
Nora is the longest serving female executive and many sentiments of gratitude were shared about her being a pioneer. I have been very fortunate in my career and have have minimal barriers thanks to those like Nora who paved a path for the rest of us. We truly see farther because we stand on the shoulders of giants.
I look forward to learning more of their stories.
Onward and upward.