Years ago, when I decided to expand my network, I attended an event sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Exchange in New York City. Little did I know how much it would continue to have an impact on my life, to this day. 

At this networking event, where I really didn’t know anyone, I met a woman, Jan Goldstoff, who started introducing me to other women business leaders. And they invited me to events, and introduced me to more women, and so on and so on. The ripple effect was incredible. Through this one event, I was able to build several businesses, made life-long friends, and have been able to pass it on to other women along the way. 

But one of the most inspiring and valuable aspects of meeting all these various women, is the role modeling that they have provided for me, perhaps unknowingly. Definitely without any formal structure. It was being with women who have done what I wanted to do that gave me the fortitude to keep going. But even more than that: it was being around women older than myself, who were still learning, growing, and active in all aspects of life. They have modeled to me what it is like to grow older with grace and dignity. Now, as I am the age they were “way back then”, I hope that I, too, can show younger women that life does not end at 60, or 70, or 80, or even 90! 

Last week, one of those women I had met through various NYC networking events, invited me to attend an event honoring Ken Waissman, the producer of the play “Grease” on Broadway, 52 years ago. The audience was comprised of, shall we say, a lot of gray hair. I felt young. And, I have to admit, I entered the room, full of judgment and preconceived notions about who these people were and what their lives must be like. And gratefully, once again, I was given the gift of seeing through different eyes. I saw former Broadway stars, now in their 80s, still belting out show tunes, the years melting away with each note. I saw friends connecting and laughing, sharing stories of travels and life adventures. And I saw, once again, role models, who gracefully demonstrated that entering a new decade does not mean life has to slow down. 

In a month where we remember and honor women who have paved the way for us all, I am so very grateful to be reminded of the power of connections. It’s by raising each other up that we all succeed. And it is by seeing those ahead of us on the journey, watching how they fall and rise again, that give us inspiration as we trudge along on our paths. 

Learn from others. Lead by example. Lift another up. Be that person.