Good things come in small packages – Cynthia de Lorenzi is no exception! This self-proclaimed “Diva Extraordinaire” is the spirit behind Washington, D.C.’s premier networking group, Success in the City, since its launch in 2004.
Stephanie Goetsch sat down for a great conversation with Cynthia about life, business and balance – get it all when you read on! Powerful advice and insight…how very Carrie of her!
Cynthia on “When One Door Closes…” If somebody says ‘no’…big deal – get over it! Love yourself enough to know it’s not personal. And if it is personal know that it is about them, not you! Believe in what you bring to the table and keep asking; the right doors for you will always open.
Cynthia on purpose through power…To know your purpose you have to know your power. As women, we begin to interpret external messages very early on that say ‘You’re not as powerful and not as intelligent.’ If you believe that other people make the decisions for you, your giving someone else your power, you become a victim. The great thing is it’s only a perception. It is your thought process that makes you powerful. The minute I recognized that, it shifted my entire perception of my life and my world. Nobody else is going to define me but me.
When you realize that everything in the world that’s supposed to come to you will, you own your own power and do not have to be a victim to anybody. It’s part of my purpose to give every woman that enlightenment and let her own it.
Cynthia on finding her niche, and having the courage to pursue it…It started out with the incredible need I had to connect with other women like me – CEO’s with similar experiences, possibly operating in a male-dominated industries [Prior to Success in the City, Cynthia was the CEO of a very successful IT firm]. The first Success in the City event was purely social; I had no intentions of creating a movement, but women really connected with the event.
Because I didn’t envision Success in the City becoming what it has, I didn’t start with a business plan. To get moving, I had to step back and understand our success and why people were connecting and excited about what they were discovering. Secondly, I had to ask myself how I would accept criticism for running such a unique group in one of the most conservative cities in the world. I knew I was opening myself up to be judged and criticized. When people think something bad about me, it really hurts me. I had to find the courage to decide to be me, regardless. I’m high energy, I laugh a lot, all of that is part of my life; that’s who I am and that’s how I’m going to be. I’m going to be genuinely me.
Cynthia on being a leader…A great CEO is flexible enough to make shifts along the way. My job is to look at and explore opportunity and also to avoid potential disaster. I’m a visionary; I often step back and ask myself, “What should I be taking in? What am I missing? What’s the one thing we haven’t touched yet?”
Cynthia on the three types of people you need in your life…
1. Advisor This is the person that provides direction, such as, where you should go to learn what you need so you get reach your goals.
2. Sponsor A sponsor is the person who’s going to expend their own personal capital to allow you to get ahead. For example, your sponsor is inside the boardroom when the company is making promotional decisions that affect you, she/he stands up for and persists that ‘this is the person we need to put in this position.’
3. Mentor A mentor is the person to whom you confide and allows you to bare your soul; the person you can say, “I’ve got this fear, and I’ve got this anxiety.” A mentor helps you through your challenges and issues.
Cynthia on defining yourself…Every woman needs to think about the three adjectives that describe her and then how to you apply them to her business. Mine are 1) passion, 2) purpose and 3) joyful. Consider what your words are and make decisions within those parameters.
Cynthia on mentoring…Women who are directors, leaders and entrepreneurs need to be available for younger women who aspire to land leadership roles. The world is very different today than when my generation came through and it’s important for both generations to appreciate and understand each other’s perspectives. If you take time to mentor a younger woman with big aspirations, she will be mentoring you, too.
Cynthia on branding…Branding is not just a logo. It’s critical for women (and men) to understand that when you step off the elevator or walk into the room, before you’ve even said a word, you’ve already made a huge first impression. If everyone’s in a power suit and you’re wearing blue jeans, you’ve made an impression that is probably not aligned with how you want to be perceived. Women need to think about how they want to be interpreted in each situation, from the clothes you choose, to make-up and hair. Like it or not, you have to use personal style for branding what you want to represent.
Cynthia on how to get involved with Success in the City…Our new series, PowerUP, is absolutely incredible! We are bringing in women to talk about powering-up your image, your purpose and happiness and many other topics we need to further our ambitions and goals. Those are equally important to understanding the principles of business because they make you more effective in your leadership. You want to be effective in what you do because it will shorten the cycle in what you want to accomplish.
This diva extraordinaire has all the right moves – we are loving it!
- Stephanie Goetsch, April 2011