Tuesday, December 9, 2014


A room full of brillant women. Their bios are complete with impressive degrees, coveted positions in universities, and interesting lives. We were asked to share one thing that wasn't in our bio; something unique about us. The stories awkwardly flowed, and we shared feats of scaling the sides of mountains, spending nights in caves, writing books in a month, learning to swim as an adult, among dozens of unique and admirable accomplishments.

Near the end of the introductions, one woman shared that she had just become engaged.

The room broke out in applause.

She had found love. We were sharing in her joy. It did not bother me that we shared in this joy. What did bother me was that we didn't share in the joy of anything else. We did not applaud for anything else.

Often times as successful women, we struggle to share our accomplishments. We forget to tout our joys. We hide behind our pride of others; often our children. Sometimes, we forget that we ARE successful women.

So, to those women, I want to add some additional clapping.

I applaud you. For putting your lives on hold for a few days, putting your phones on silent, and not answering emails, while you learn to be a better leader.

I applaud you. For managing 50+ hour a week jobs, while juggling your kids' needs, your partner's needs, and somehow still managing to keep clean clothes on everyone's back.

I applaud you. For being amazing mothers, whose children do see your brilliance and may not understand it now, but they will be positively changed by it in the long run.

I applaud you. For running marathons, hiking mountains, writing books, performing speeches, giving to charity, and helping others.

I applaud you. For not sleeping, getting up while it is still dark to run on the the treadmill to keep your sanity, staying up late to answer emails because of all the meetings, and using your sleeping power to come up with new ideas.

I applaud you. For still knowing how to laugh, finding the humor in the insanity of our jobs, and not taking it too personally.

I applaud you. For being willing to open your hearts up to each other, and share your hopes, and dreams, and fears.

I applaud you. For changing the world.

 I applaud you. For being you.


  1. Wow, Crista, thank you so much. I applaud your applause (in poker, we would say, I see your applause, and raise it--which I do!) I am both touched and enheartened by your blog, which celebrates the extraordinary/ordinary lives of all academic leaders--and of course especially the women at the conference last week. What an amazing and inspirational group!


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