By Linda Lollo
Manager of Social Media Strategy, Big Lots
Board Member, Women in Digital

“Your content is stale.”

“You don’t take feedback well.”

“You two just don’t get along.”

Last week, I celebrated the one year anniversary of the job that I almost didn’t take. There were many reasons that I almost turned down the chance to lead social media at a Fortune 500 company, most of which were in my head. Many of which stemmed from the three quotes that I listed above.

But what does this important anniversary and those words have to do with my reasons for being a part of Columbus Women in Digital? Both have to do with my truth. My truth doesn’t include stories of sexual harassment at work or inappropriate conduct by male colleagues. In fact, men have been some of the most supportive and genuine people that I have worked for and with. My truth has to do with women that I’ve encountered during my career. They are who delivered the words that rattled me, shook me and made me believe that I wasn’t right for a job that has turned out to be a perfect fit.

Although I was panicked, second guessing myself and POSITIVE that I was not the right person for the job, I took it anyway and soon found myself surrounded by an extremely smart, talented and supportive team. It was only then that I realized the true impact that those words had on my confidence and that they almost had on my career. As I became more comfortable in my new role, I started to explore networking opportunities with others in Columbus. Thankfully, one of those opportunities presented itself to me when Alaina connected with me on LinkedIn. Instead of just accepting the invitation and moving on, I responded with a note, which led to a coffee date. During that coffee date, Alaina asked what I thought about an organization in Columbus, JUST for women in digital, to which I immediately replied, “how can I help?”

It was obvious from the first meeting that Alaina was on to something special. I knew that Columbus was full of smart and talented women in the field of digital, but it was awe inspiring to see so many of them in one room. It was even more humbling as people introduced themselves to me and connected through various social channels. All of the sudden, I found myself in the role as “seasoned professional” and it was then that I truly understood the power of this organization.

So, as I celebrate the one year anniversary of the job that I almost didn’t take, I am also celebrating me. I’m finding that person who I didn’t realize was lost. I’m finding time for health, for networking and for friends. My curiosity is returning and I’m no longer accepting the status quo. I’m putting myself out there and reaping rewards that I couldn’t have imagined. I will never forget those words or the women who said them, but in a way, I am grateful for them. As a member of Columbus Women in Digital, I’m committed to being a positive example and role model to other women. I’m here to be a sounding board, a coffee buddy, a cheerleader or a mentor and I can’t wait to meet you!