Today is bittersweet. Today, the very first person to hire me as a solo public relations practitioner announced her retirement.
Katherine Wiltshire is retiring as executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. It was my contract with Katherine and the Hall that launched my business. I have a business because of Katherine’s leadership at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.
We weren’t even called WardCommPR back then – it was 2007, I had left agency work eight months prior, my youngest was about to celebrate her first birthday, and I named the business out of necessity. Ward Communications was as original as I could manage at the time.
On August 3, 2007, Katherine and I met for the first time. She didn’t know me from a hole in the wall. Someone I worked with for a grand total of six months recommended me for the job. It was a jump-right-in-with-both-feet-and-watch-out-because-you-might-drown situation. The Hall was preparing for its 14th Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration honoring women in sports.
Nearly eight-and-a-half years later, almost everything about me and my business is different. I no longer have a flip phone and a 10,000-pound laptop. I know what Facebook is. I have almost recovered from spending more on daycare than I earned just to be able to try to network and land new clients. I am a confident business owner. Really, the only thing that’s the same is the presence of Katherine and the Hall. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the way this incredible journey began and whether or not it would have gotten off the ground without the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.
So, with both tears and smiles, I celebrate. I celebrate Katherine and all she has done for the Hall and every new adventure that awaits her. And, I celebrate the personal and professional growth opportunities I have gained through our relationship. It’s been an incredible ride – one that has offered me the opportunity to strengthen many skills, allowed me to be courageous in my convictions, and introduced me to many wonderful people.
Congratulations, Katherine. And, thank you, for taking a chance on me.