Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Normal - Standing Out and Blending In

Bru's Room Grill - 9 locations 
Joanna Santos at the “Musings from my everyday life” blog  wrote a wonderful article last week about her new normal and blending in. So many times, we wait for a response when we are out and most of time notice nothing. My comfort level has increase over the years and in almost all cases, I go about my day not really noticing or expecting a reaction. It has been a long time since anyone noticed.  

Comfort zones are essential and expanding that zone is equally important. Last week I found myself in a bit of a challenging situation not of my making. A circumstance that would likely make any woman apprehensive.  

I have a business associate that is an attorney. His specialty is business relationships and securing venture capital for startup companies. He is a good friend and we met when I did work for a power generation startup. On several occasion he used my engineering background to review prospective projects as to technical viability. This past week he had such a request and asked if I could accompany him to see a water reclamation prototype. We were to meet for breakfast and then view the project.

Surprise one: There were three at the table when I arrived for breakfast-all men, two I had never met. We had time to kill and our conversation went in many directions. The breakfast within itself would have made for a super day.  

Surprise two: There was to be a lunch before going to the site and I was told there would be a few more joining us. We met at a large sports restaurant and the few more, was twenty. And, one of the group was the restaurant owner, a retired NFL superstar. Immediately on arrival there was jockeying as who was going to sit with the “only lady” - I was placed in the middle. Everyone was kind and treated me beautifully. Best case scenario. 

There was a lot of business talk and even some discreet flirting from the person that had engineered my sitting next to him - A very cute British accent. What is one to do but smile, laugh and play the part? 

Surprise three: So as the Brits would say "In for a penny in for a pound." After about an almost two hour lunch most all of the group finally headed out to the prototype site. It was an interesting full size prototype and I will not bore you with the details other than to say that I held my own during the tour and asked relevant questions. I had done a whole day’s research prior and was better prepared than most in the group. 

I must admit that being the only “woman” in this large group of high-end investment entrepreneurs was a little unnerving. "Oh my - suppose I say something really stupid?"

In the end, several good business contacts came out of the meetings and time will tell if any business develops. The next day I wrote my own evaluation paper on the project and delivered it to my attorney friend.  Mission/project accomplished.  

I described my day to a fiend and this was his comment:
It's clear that you're proud of  the way you were treated - as a knowledgeable woman. This was not 'Rhonda, the secretary on view yesterday to the men assembled there, but rather Rhonda, the consultant / adviser, who happens to be a very sharp business-woman. Just further validation. 
The whole day was perfect day of standing out and blending - A new normal established.


  1. it becomes second nature after a while doesn't it Rhonda?

  2. Rhonda, extraordinarily normal. Does it get better than that? Wowza!

  3. It seems like a great day affirming that Rhonda belongs and can hold her own in any company