Posted Monday, January 30th, 2006
Moments earlier, Carolyn thought she'd remember her benefactor forever. He had stood beside her, cheered her on and gave her reasoning meaning. He had been more than a supporter; he was, she thought, all that she loved about becoming a CEO and at times she felt she loved him perhaps more than the goal. He alone made her see the importance behind her will and courage, and opened her eyes to understanding that she was the answer to the company's troubles. She told him that it was he not her, but he insisted that she didn't need him any longer and he had become a crutch and therefore it was time for her to go it alone.
Even then she didn't quite get the message.
She watched, as he walked away from the podium, turning around, walking back to his wife's side, putting his arm around her, and leaving Carolyn for good.
This scene took Carolyn's breath away. But there, she found herself alone behind the podium she once coveted. Oh, she worked; into the night, days on end without rest so she did indeed deserve this. But she stood wavering, as she knew every eye in the auditorium was on her. She turned to the stockholders who waited to hear her deliver the company's message and peered out at the sea of faces. She knew where she needed to put emphasis and when and where to add a bit of regret for the past and finally pointing to the future, she was at the helm now.
She began to thank her benefactor wanting to acknowledge his support for her and bringing her to this position. She wanted to say the words, "Thank you", "if it wasn't for you," and she wanted the audience to stand and give him an ovation so he could leave in style.
She cleared her throat, took a dainty sip of water and let her speech run through her mind one last time. Yet now, she considered, they weren't the words she wanted and worst of all, suddenly she felt the weight of responsibility. Her enemies said she'd fold like a desk of cards, explode into tears and run like a dog with its tail between its legs and now all that seemed too real, a sure possibility without him at her side. He had been the reason, the one holding the rudder and she, the second mate and nowhere worthy of this moment.
Tears welled up in her eyes. Her shoulders rounded to a slump but not in defeat more like a lioness and yes, indeed she wanted to run and never stop. She wanted to go home, have a family, be a normal woman, marry and love just like him. She had been tricked in to believing that being the CEO would be the answer she sought. Now that it was nearly here, just words away, she feared, she no longer cared and without the words, she felt undeserving.
Yet, to her surprise and resolve, her animal instinct took over. She straightened her shoulders and braced herself against the podium, holding it end-to-end like the clasp of a chain, knowing that without her, it all could slip away. A smile crept onto her face, the same smile and pleasure that had filled her the day she discovered she indeed had the moxie. She dismissed her speech and went with something more spontaneously and to her relief the crowd roared. Alone and high above her subjects, she had more confidence than she had ever felt. It was then and without a whisk of remorse, she promptly forgot her benefactor's name.
Comments [post a comment]
Posted by Miriam Kotzin on Monday, January 30th, 2006 at 3:29 PM
It's wonderful how the animal instinct that takes over here, puts her in charge. Skillful use of imagery!
Posted by Anna McDougall on Monday, January 30th, 2006 at 3:37 PM
Judy, you captured the moment of doubt perfectly. Just the inspiration I needed today!
Posted by Gerard C. Smith on Monday, January 30th, 2006 at 8:11 PM
Great piece Judy.
Posted by Patricia Parkinson on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 at 1:00 AM
Aren't you just the best!!?? xoxo Love it..xo
Posted by Nonnie Augustine on Thursday, February 2nd, 2006 at 11:31 PM
Powerful piece and beautifully realized, Judy. Nonnie Augustine