Women in Business Leadership Speaker Series 2018: “Together We Achieve”

Carl B. Forkner. Ph.D.

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce started off 2018 with an exceptional program, brought to us by the Chamber’s Women in Business Council. These presentations took place over four weeks from January 26th to February 16th, hosted at the MarinaLink venue at the new State Farm regional HQ in Tempe, AZ. The discussions provided insight into the great topics presented by these accomplished Women in Business. 

WIB - Olenka Cullinan

February 2nd. Together We Achieve: Earning Your Potential with Olenka Cullinan

This second installment of the Women in Business Leadership Speaker series was presented by Olenka Cullinan. Perhaps one of the more applicable quotes to success as an entrepreneur or small business owner was one of her lead-off volleys: “Always play by your own rules!”

During this presentation, I was focused on the way that Olenka presented some of the principles for achievement by using catch phrases that stood out in my mind. Accordingly, this article will share some of the gems of knowledge passed on during the presentation.

“Being worthy is not something you earn; it is something you recognize.” To me, this quote brings to mind that we do not have to look to others to tell us whether we are worthy–we have the power within ourselves to hold our heads up high and know that we *are* worthy…     This is a wonderful video about a young man who does not need someone else to validate his worthiness…or his happiness:  https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6372224779461627904

“Starting is just as important as success.” No success happens until you start down the road with a goal in mind. It is like financial savings advice I heard from a colleague in the Chamber of Commerce once–The best time to start a savings and investment program is when you first start working; the second best time is right now. I provided similar advice to my sales staff–Reach out every single day to at least one new company or contact; the loyal customers that we have today were once new contacts with whom we had not done business previously.

“Influencers = Impact = Income.” one of the neat features of LinkedIn is the opportunity to follow various Influencers, such as Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Simon Sinek, and others across many genres and professional areas.

“Millennials want to be influenced–not managed or led.” Give Millennials a cause, a vision, a goal–and then let them do it in their own way: Give them “what” not “how.” Another way to make this point is to remember that, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” (Steve Jobs)

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And then there were some good quotes having to do with taking the negative influences out of one’s life. Perhaps for many people, these are words that can change the course of their outlook on work…and life as a whole…

“We tend to wear ‘busy’ as a badge of honor–this is not a good thing.” Being busy is not necessarily a bad thing–it may be an indicator of newly found success and the excitement of one’s chosen business, hobby, or life experiences. BUT…using “busy” as the paradigm by which one describes their work or life is something that detracts from flexibility, efficiency, and control of one’s life.

“Stop apologizing; start doing.” Associated with that quote is “I would rather be rejected by greatness than accepted by mediocrity.” Too often, we can reject our dreams because of how we believe we are perceived by others. We never get off the starting line because we are afraid of the potential rejection by those whom we hold in high esteem, our mentors, and others. Going back to the premise of worthiness discussed earlier, we need to focus on *our* goals and dreams–not what others think of them, not what others think that they could do better, not because others don’t want to come along for the ride. Don’t apologize for your dreams; don’t fear rejection–strive for greatness and chase your dreams!

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So, when you get up, get out, and get going, remember: “Everything should focus on how things make *you* better…”

The discussion above was developed from attending the presentation by Olenka Cullinan. Please note that the concepts, quotes, and methods contained therein are the intellectual property of Olenka Cullinan and are not the original thoughts of this writer.

You can find out more about Olenka and her leadership principles at:



Thank you to Margo Brown and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Council for bringing together this outstanding four weeks of leadership speakers! Thanks to Sukki Jahnke for arranging an outstanding venue and superb catering for each day’s breakfast!

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