On Thursday, Sarah Berthelot was the guest speaker at the Acadiana Women’s Network luncheon, sponsored by One Acadiana.
Berthelot is president and chief executive officer of the Louisiana Association of United Ways.
I attend a fair amount of networking events as part of my job, and it’s not always my favorite part. It might surprise people to know how uncomfortable such events make me. I’m not good at making small talk; I’m much more comfortable hiding behind written words. I even prefer public speaking because there’s a distance between you and the audience, and I can hide behind that.
Berthelot discussed her leadership style and the tactics she uses to build consensus. She talked about finding clarity in your mission and the qualities of a servant leader. As a woman, she said, “sometimes you have to be able to play poker when you need to. And cry on the way home.”
She also shared a quote she keeps in her office, one that she reflects on daily: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
This is a quote I also love and that I try to live by. I’ve experienced the most growth — personal and professional — during times when I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have experienced Berthelot’s powerful and moving message, for example, if I hadn’t forced myself to attend an event I knew would make me uncomfortable.