Guest Post: Belle's World - The Parlay Effect
Have you ever thought about the Parlay (Ripple) Effect of giving and receiving or even witnessing this process?
It was a chilly but sunny Sunday morning, when a friend of mine, Manju Ramachandran, had invited me to attend a Neythri event by women's leadership coach, Jo Miller, to help me meet new folks as I continue to settle in Silicon Valley. Ironically, I had taken Jo Miller's leadership classes in 2009, when I lived in San Francisco. I knew her and was excited to see her speak and meet her after almost 10 years. As I walked into the venue, I was embraced into a sense of belonging. After the event I wrote a blog about the event and the amazing takeaways I received. From there, one of the panelists, Anjli Dudani, responded to my post and we met one on one. She immediately started connecting me to folks that would be beneficial to my business and brand. One of the introductions she made was to Julie Castro Adams, Founder of How Women Lead. Which brings me to the ripple effect of all these events and introductions. Going to that first event reminded me how much I love to write and inspired me to write again. Both organizations Neythri and How Women Lead have given me the opportunity to write for their events. Women who have read my posts recognize me at events. Most importantly, the dialogue I like to see happen around topics that are not discussed are beginning to happen.
From my side, I feel fulfilled. From a greater good, I see conversations and mind-shifts happening that will continue to change how we live, work and play!
The above is an example of the Parlay Effect. On February 11, 2020, I had the pleasure of attending a Book Launch event for Anne Devereaux-Mills for her book, "The Parlay Effect: How Female Connection Can Change the World." When I walked into Docusign (our host) on the 15th floor, I was greeted by SF Bay on the other side of the window. It reminded me that I am a water creature and water is my calm! As all How Women Lead events, the venue was amazing and the conversations flowed from the minute you walked in. A reminder, that if you attend a How Women Lead event, you won't ever be a wallflower :). I love the real connections that the women, at these events make. During the initial mingling, I had a chance to get to know Serena Chen, PhD, who wrote the foreword for the book. At the time, I didn't know she had been an integral part, of the study, for the book and got to know her as a human being!
We started the talk with Julie reminding us of the How Women Lead Credo.
1. Be fierce advocates for each other
2. Say Yes to helping each other
3. Reinforce your voice
4. Be unabashedly visible
Pati Navalta Poblete moderated the discussion for the rest of the night. Her own personal story and why she created the Robby Poblete Foundation generated quite a few teary eyes, in the audience. Her son was killed due to gun violence, in broad daylight, more than 4 years ago. Pati introduced Anne and we began a journey of truly understanding the Parlay (ripple) effect of what happens when we give!
Anne spoke about her journey of cancer, losing her executive level job (due to needing time off to deal with cancer) and eventually moving to San Francisco. She had an amazing partner and home in her life but she was missing people. It was an impetus for her to start the Parlay House, a modern salon for women designed to spark authentic conversations and build meaningful relationships as we parlay our life experiences in new directions. It reminded me of the gathering I used to have with women in Dallas - Dynamic Dallas Dames! It was real conversations about the individual women. Not networking, not identifying by their work persona, not home as a focus but them as human beings, as women, as individuals. Building relationships and friendships with other women they could connect to, on a very deep level. Through the Parlay House she noticed the Parlay Effect.
She reached out to folks and eventually was connected with Serena. They created a study and eventually saw there were three types of people. Givers, Receivers and Witnesses. In my example above Manju, Anjli, Neythri and Julie were my givers. I was the receiver. And now, as I tell the story you all are my witnesses :) The Parlay Effect is about small actions of inclusion, kindness, empathy and generosity. As much as they are small they start adding up to meaningful change. My heart was excited that someone could articulate, much better than me, what I have observed my entire life.
Most of my life, I was the giver and still do enjoy it as it fulfills me. In this situation, I received multiple times over and it created a ripple effect that satisfies and fulfills my emotional wealth. It validated my decision to be an Executive Coach and Connector and to give day in and day out to live our the purpose of my life journey. I don't define myself as what I do for a living (ie my business), but instead I built my business around who I am, as a person.
Anne and Serena talked us through many topics (for future blogs) about being vulnerable which allows us to be more authentic to those around us. Once that happens connections are easier to be made. An interesting point that many women forget is treating ourselves right and putting focus on self care & self compassion. If we don't take care of ourselves first, we truly can't take care of others. I know you have all heard it but it's important to truly embody it. We talked about the "guilt" that working moms go through and by talking about it with other women, it starts changing the mindset to start peeling away at the guilt that IMO honestly shouldn't be put upon moms by society/culture in the first place. I loved that Anne talks about the Parlay Effect as the reverse of dominoes. It's about uplifting each other as you see others do it. It truly is about learning to define yourself as you versus all the roles you play in the world. One of the biggest points that was made is that once we start having real conversations we realise we all make mistakes. It's what makes us human. We usually beat ourselves up more for our mistakes than the world does and knowing that we all do make mistakes helps us be a little more compassionate to ourselves.
One of the questions we were all left with from the panel is Does knowing or having gratitude make our lives better? I made a decision, almost 9 years ago, when I realized I had so much more - emotional wealth, love, family than a lot of people in the world. The decision was to be grateful, for what I have day in and day out. Don't get me wrong I have moments when I lose it and feel like I am in the pits or worse. However, the love I know I have helps pull me back up everyday.
Listening to the last speaker of the night, Frances Byrne, Deputy Director of the Freedom House, really brought home that I am even more grateful for what I have in my life journey and by giving back, I am fulfilled. We also had a few more tears as we listened to the purpose. The Freedom House provides a new life for survivors of human trafficking. How Women Give presented Frances with a $10k grant to be used however they need to fund whatever Freedom House needs right now. Can you even imagine the Parlay Effect of these funds?
As I traveled home with my event companion for the night, Lori Kate Smith, I continued to enjoy our conversations of live as we both build the bonds of our friendship. When the conversations are real, we all grow and see different perspectives that allow us to be more inclusive and vulnerable in the future.
Each connection, each discussion, each little act of kindness, inclusion, empathy and generosity that happened in the 2 hours on February 11, 2020 will have some type of Parlay effect that will bring meaningful change now and for generations to come. Change happens in little bits and we are all part of the change as the paradigm continues to shift in how we live, work and play!
Can you find some examples in your life of the Parlay Effect and what role did you play? Giver, Receiver or Witness?