How do you know you have really made it? Defining Achievement in Women

Women have been asked to “Lean In”…”Say Yes”…learn the “Confidence Code” and a plethora of other things to empower ourselves and attain the careers we dream of all while balancing real world responsibilities. But how do you know you have really made it? How do you know you’ve leaned in far enough? Said yes to the right things?

Bloomingdales invited me to join a dynamic panel of distinguished women working in diversity from Time Inc, L’Oreal, JP Morgan Chase and more to discuss my definition of achievement during their Women’s History Month celebration this year and this is what I shared with attendees on how women can define achievement.


We have all had that feeling in our careers or personal lives where we’ve said, “There has to be more. This isn’t it.” True achievement starts when you are aligned with your purpose.You know you are moving in your purpose when you find yourself intrinsically drawn to a particular task or service regardless of if you are paid for it or not. When the things you do, the goals you reach, and the people you influence are aligned with your purpose, orare aligning you with your purpose, that is the start of true achievement.

True achievement starts when you are aligned with your purpose.


We have blogged, panel discussed, and TED talked ourselves to death about the obstacles facing women in the workplace but have failed to spend the same amount of time highlighting the ways we have paved the way for women to accomplish the incredible. Often such achievement has come as a result of mentorships, champions, and encouragement from others. The biggest show of gratitude you can give to those who have helped you along is to use your achievement in service of other women. Even if it’s 15 minutes for coffee with a college senior or volunteering with Dress for Success. When we as women fail to take the skill, knowledge, access, or resources created by our successes to help other women, our own success and achievement is diminished.

Service is the rent we pay for room on earth.


Encouragement to “Say Yes” or “Lean In” to anything that challenges your integrity as a mother, a wife, a leader, a worker, or anything else you feel identifies you at your core as a woman is not a show of strength in the face of obstacles, but rather, a blow to progress. No opportunity, title, raise ,or bonus compares to the value of your family, your self respect and character. Knowing when to step away, say no, and draw the line are just as needed as saying yes and leaning in. Having the discernment to define and prioritize what means most in our lives and not being afraid to vocalize them to others who may find other things more pressing is one of the toughest yet most rewarding thing a woman can do to define her achievements.

When women accomplish great things with purpose, in service of others, and with integrity we have clearly defined achievement for the next generation of girls that will become the women that run the world!

An extra special thank you again to Bloomingdales for the invitation to join their 59th Street Conversation Series. Discussions like these are what define the culture of dynamic organizations that have a true investment in diversity. The employee engagement and feedback for this event was an incredible showcase of the great culture at Bloomingdales and I’m humbled and honored to have shared my voice with such a dynamic brand and distinguished panel of women.

Happy Women’s History Month!



Shay is an attorney and diversity & inclusion consultant. A featured TEDx Salon speaker on the topic of diversity and inclusion, she has engaged with Fortune listed, non-profit, and government agencies to create lasting strategies to attract, train, and retain diverse talent.

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