At the start, That’s What She Said was created to provide space to uplift women’s voices and build community. Back then, we knew that many women have stories that were not being told. And we knew that those stories would create space for connection, healing, inspiration, and empowerment.
But what we didn’t expect were the many life lessons we would gain from attending She Said events. Listening to, and learning from, the lived experiences of other women has given us inspiration and courage to live our lives more fully.
One of those lessons that stuck with us came from the Peoria She Said stage.
From Class President to City Mayor
Back in high school Rita Ali (now the mayor of Peoria) knew she wanted to run for class president. What she didn’t know, however, was what she would have to do to get there (quite literally she didn’t know that she would need to write, practice, and deliver a speech in front of the student body).
Unfortunately for Rita, her opponent did know. And she came prepared. Rita’s opponent had everything she needed to lock in the presidency: a father who was a well-known speaking coach and professor, a well-rehearsed speech, and a polished appearance.
Meanwhile, Rita showed up at school that day without a clue that she would be invited on stage.
So, when it was Rita’s turn, she walked up to the stage, looked out at her classmates, and spoke about what she KNEW they wanted to hear. She didn’t have a big speech prepared. But she knew her peers well enough that it didn’t matter. She spoke about what she would do for them – things like more time between classes and better cafeteria food.
Rita capped off her speech to her peers with “if you want to get up, first you have to get down!”
And you know what happened?
Rita won the class presidency. Because she knew her audience. In order to get “up” into the presidency, Rita “got down” with her peers and knew precisely what they wanted to hear.
Community Helps You ‘Get Up’
We love Rita’s lesson because it not only illustrates the importance of knowing how to read a room (an important public speaking skill!) but it also speaks to the necessity of building community for personal growth.
The She Said stage is a powerful place to build community. We get to witness women brave the microphone and tell stories that they’ve never told before. We get to watch as other women in their community connect with their stories and lift them up.
And, in doing all this, we see women making connections that will support them and help them continue to reach their goals.
Rita’s story reminds us that no one gets to the top without staying connected to their community. And we invite you to strengthen your own connection to your community of women by attending the next She Said event.
When you do, you’ll also get the opportunity to learn from the lived experiences of other women. It’s an incredible opportunity to gain new perspectives and connect with women who will support you in reaching your goals.
We have upcoming shows across the midwest. Find one near you today!