Even Planned Parenthood’s President Had To Overcome Self Doubt
In a candid speech, Cecile Richards placed an emphasis on women helping each other rise.
The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, is a badass. The daughter of a housewife with four kids who went on to become the governor of Texas, she knows a thing or two about working hard on what you believe in. And during a Wednesday conference organized by the 92nd Women inPower fellowship program, she let the wisdom bombs drop.
In a candid roundtable discussion about self-doubt, mentors and success, Richards shared her thoughts on the challenges women face in their careers today, letting attendees know she almost didn’t become the awesome president she is today.
“I almost didn’t interview for this job. I’ve never run anything this big. I had a list of all the things that I didn’t know how to do,” she said, according to The Cut. “But I did it anyway. I went ahead and tried it anyway. If you wait until everything lines up, it’s over.”
She continued: “Do not ever think there will be a moment in your life where all the stars will align. ‘I have the right degree, I have the right relationships, I have the right clothes.’ That is what holds women back so much.” True that!
Encouraging women to ban together to tackle career-related self doubt and amplify each other’s successes, she said, “We can’t wait until someone taps us on the head and says, ‘Oh my God, I think you’re ready for your next move.’ Look for other women in the workforce and outside your own workplace. We can all teach each other the ways in which we have overcome our own feelings of anxiety.”
And on the subject of mentors, Richards had a lot to say, both recognizing the value of having the support of an experienced woman and the privilege implicit in being granted access to that.
“I left jobs when I didn’t have a mentor. I quit more jobs than you could shake a stick at. I always felt like I needed a place where I could learn something from someone else,” she said. “Holding out for things that bring you joy and where you feel like your job isn’t something that you’re dreading going to, that’s a rare thing.
“I worked for years with low-wage workers, women who had no opportunities, no choices. I think that privilege we have is something we need to recognize. But I think seeking mentorship is something worth changing jobs over.”
But the choicest of all the choice Richards quotes? That’s easy: “If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably not doing your job.” Yeah, girl! Planned Parenthood forever, amen.
Words: Jerico Mandybur