Walk a mile in my shoes and you’ll meet a young girl who grew up during the 60s and 70s minutes from Atlantic City, home of the annual Miss America Pageant and the Show Us Your Shoes parade. The pageant was part of the fabric of my life, blending in with the sand, sea and boardwalk. It was easy to get caught up in the excitement as I watched the contestants parade in style, lifting their feet in the air with the crowds cheering them on. The experience left a lasting impression. I learned that a pair of shoes can magically give a woman superpowers, making us feel (as Marilyn Monroe said) that we can conquer the world. When women step into their shoes, they also step into their power, transforming from ordinary to extraordinary. I took the lesson with me to adulthood, rockin’ out in my heels when I found myself in a sea of blue suits, the only woman in my territory to land a job selling business forms and commercial printing.
Fast forward to my journey as an entrepreneur, speaker and author. Last year I happened to cross paths with the founder of the Shoe Society, Cristina Candullo, when we were both guests on a radio show hosted by Whitney Ullman. At the time, a knee injury put a damper on my usual wardrobe choices and I was clunking around in big flat boots. The boots gave me the support I needed but they were not very fun. It’s interesting how a pair of shoes can change your personality. I wasn’t feeling like “me.” The experience inspired me to reconnect with Cristina, who is a high-energy entrepreneur with even higher heels, when I planned the first Visionistas in Pink event (kicking off the paper version of my best selling book, Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl) last year. My objective for the event was to connect like-minded women influencers, make a difference in our local community, and share my Visionista message.
It takes the right pair of shoes to get there, so I invited the Shoe Society founder to judge the Best In Shoe contest, my version of “show us your shoes”. When I announced the contest, something magical happened. Attendees started to share (on social media) pictures of the shoes they were wearing to the event. The contest took on a life of its own and I realized that whether we choose flats, 5” heels or stylin’ sneakers, our shoes communicate who we are to the world. When I announced I was making it an annual event, last year’s “Best Flat Shoe” winner, Stacy McGuigan, immediately shared she’d be back to defend her title. Game (or shoe) on!
This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, October 8 at the historical Alice Paul Institute, home of a trailblazing woman who led the way for women’s rights. Guests include the South Jersey Biz Top 25 Women to Watch and Sylvia LaFair, author of GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change. Sylvia is a trailblazing Gutsy Visionista with an inspiring story of her own. We’ll continue our charity focus, raising money for Pink Roses Teal Magnolias (breast/ovarian cancers) and celebrate women who step into their power and more importantly, bring other women with them along for the ride.
7 Inspiring Shoe Quotes, from Oprah Winfrey to Dr. Suess:
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ~ Dr. Seuss
Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. ~ Marilyn Monroe
I still have my feet on the ground. I just wear better shoes. – Oprah Winfrey
I do believe that in order to be a successful negotiator that as a diplomat, you have to be able to put yourself into the other person’s shoes. ~ Madeleine Albright
You can imagine me as a kid growing up in redneck Texas with ballet shoes, tucking the violin under my arm. I had to fight my way up. ~ Patrick Swayze
To be happy, if first takes being comfortable in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there. ~ Sophia Bush
I once read a short story about how much you could tell about people from their shoes. You could tell where they had been, what they did, and whether they were real walkers. ~ Elizabeth Edward
Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, radio host and best selling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl. She speaks to global audiences about entrepreneurship, vision and branding and is a resource for press, media and bloggers. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.