Sara Mitchell, Communications & engagement manager at The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
Four years ago I found myself at The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Keyholder event.
I had recently moved back to Columbus, was a year out of college (which felt oddly anticlimactic) and felt completely lost. I was unsure of what I wanted to do, and frustrated because that’s all I could think about. While I was fortunate to have a job, I felt a huge gap between my passions and my paycheck. This all changed when I was invited to attend Keyholder, which would end up being the most important non-traditional networking event I’ve ever attended.
I didn’t know the first thing about getting involved in the community or networking, but I went to the event as the last minute guest of a friend. I had no clue what I was about to experience – and I definitely didn’t know it would set me on the path to my passion.
I’d never heard of The Women’s Fund before, but knew of actress Goldie Hawn, who was the night’s featured speaker. I didn’t anticipate leaving more inspired by the organization than by the celebrity, but that’s exactly what happened. In just one hour I felt more inspired than I had in the last year. I was hooked. I didn’t know how, but I knew I needed to be a part of The Women’s Fund.
Take chances and get involved in your community, even when the networking connection isn’t obvious. You may miss out on a major opportunity by turning down event invitations like these
Keyholder opened my eyes to a community of courageous, powerful women I never knew existed. One that I wanted to join. So I e-mailed the President and CEO and asked her to get coffee. Looking back, I’m not sure what gave me the confidence to email this woman who so boldly stood in front of 2,500 people on a shared stage with Goldie Hawn and ask her to Cup O Joe, but I did. And so began the most unexpected and extraordinary mentorship.
Key takeaway: Don’t let fear hold you back. Move out of your own way, take risks and go after the things you want, no matter how scary they may seem.
Believe in the results. I never would have guessed that four years after attending my first Keyholder event, I would be wearing the headset and running the show’s production. My seat in the theatre might be a little different now, but whether front of house or backstage the energy remains the same.
Key takeaway: Don’t give up if an opportunity doesn’t present itself right away. You may not see the outcome immediately after attending an event, but you never know how it make affect you down the road. Jump in with both feet and see where it takes you.
Sara Mitchell was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from Emerson College in Boston with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Sara returned to Columbus to start a career in communications. Now the Communications & Engagement Manager at the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, she is working towards building the organizations capacity and reach for social change, and raising awareness around issues affecting women and girls both globally and locally.