Fierce Woman: Melissa Ross, Host of First Coast Connect Inaugural Speaker for SHE IS FIERCE! St. Augustine!
By Debbie Gaylord
Master of Arts, Women’s History, University at Albany
Publisher, St. Johns Magazine
“She was a vixen when she went to school; And though she be but little, she is fierce!”
- William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As women, many of us resonate with this Shakespearean quote. The sentiment is the inspiration for –she is FIERCE! A new a global website, speaker's series and community dedicated to inspiring women to live boldly, all based out of Saint Augustine.
She is FIERCE! held its first event, Women’s Wednesdays, at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine and it was amazing! Women empowering women, providing advice and words of wisdom is what it seeks to deliver. It was the first in a series of educational talks for she Is fierce! occurring over nine nights during June and July. Every Wednesday, doors will open at 5PM and the Fierce Speaker will begin at 6:15PM. By sharing herstories and allowing questions from the audience, She is Fierce! engages women in a public dialogue that helps them grow.
Melissa Ross, First Coast Connect host and award-winning journalist offered life lessons to a large crowd of women about branding, ambition and achieving your goals. Branding is essentially you or your company’s reputation. It is what you are trying to put out there in the world. It begins the minute we interact with others in any capacity.
During her talk Melissa reminded us of a great quote from Nora Ephron’s 1996 commencement speech at Wellesley College: “You are not who you will be forever.” Melissa shared the story of how she went from T.V. newsperson to Public Relations Executive to her current position in public media. Each time she changed gears she had to take a chance and enter unknown territory. She felt small and unsure but she took the “leap of FIERCE”! Reminding listeners, “We regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we took a chance on”.
Think about it? If you were to describe yourself with five words when you were 25 and then 35 and then 45– WOW!! Those are very different lists. But have you ever thought about how you got there?
I am a literally a small woman (5.1) and as I prepared to attend Women’s Wednesday, even before I arrived, I felt stronger and taller and more confident just saying the words in my mind – She is FIERCE! My experience at the event helped remind me of the power of women’s energy when gathered together and how we can learn from one another.
The event taught me that our brand may change over time but we should never give up on our goals and also accept our shifting mindset for what it is. One of our strongest traits as women! As Melissa Ross said, “Celebrate you for your resilience! Challenge the status quo when necessary; fearlessly speak out; dare to do something fearless!” Yes! As we all know, you should never underestimate a woman… “though she be but little, she is fierce!” Thank you sisters at she is Fierce! for this incredible event!
She is Fierce Founder Kelly Youngs, is an Emmy-nominated Executive Producer who had a dream to provide something that could change women’s reality with an online resource for women, Fierce Talks Speaker Series, a Fierce Life Masterclass, and the ability to grow as a community of Fierce Women supporting one another.
Next up for Women's Wednesday on June 10th is Debbie Powers, Call Her Coach!
Debbie is an advocate for women in sports. She grew up playing basketball before there were girls’ leagues. She went on to lead Indiana University to the Final Four and eventually became head women’s basketball coach at Ball State University. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, Meeting Her Match.
For a complete list of upcoming speakers and to acquire tickets to the Women’s Wednesday tab on SheIsFierceHQ.com
To hear more highlights from Women's Wednesday below:
At the end of the program, Melissa answered questions from the audience:
To the young woman who was on the cusp of shifting from working professional to Mom. “A glass of red wine provides balance”, said Ross. I had to laugh at this because women of the 21st century, the wise ones at least, have realized that the only way to juggle everything is to enjoy wine!
To the young woman in the audience who just graduated from UNF and wanted to know how to begin branding herself, Ross had sage advice. Find a mentor. Someone who speaks up for you and tells others how great you are, someone in a power position. These people may ultimately help you throughout your life in achieving your goals.
I thought about my words. Who was I at twenty-five and who am I today? At twenty-five my words were: Free-Spirit, Adventurer, Intellectual, Daughter, Policy Wonkl! Today in my forties my words are: Mother, Organizer, Entrepreneur, Seeker, Writer. What are your words?
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