I received a note from one of my students the other day that really took me by surprise. It was a lovely thank you note to mark the end of the semester, but what really stood out and has had me thinking was this line:
“I also really appreciate the way you treated us – even though we’re your students you treated us with so much respect and never spoke down to us.”
Isn’t this the way the world should operate? How can we assume that we’re better than anyone else or know what’s happening in their private life?
Why don’t we always treat everyone with respect?
This student’s comment made me stop and think and look around.
I started paying attention to how Her Corner group members respond when we bring in new members.
I started noticing how women (and men) are treated when assumptions push out fact. “She’s blowing off this project!” Actually, she’s barely able to get through her day because she’s dealing with an enormous personal loss.
And then I thought, in many ways, I didn’t always immediately treat others with respect.
- I used to judge more.
- I wasn’t always very nice.
But two things changed this attitude.
- The first instance happened earlier in my life, thank goodness, when I was 20. I met someone who became and still is one of my very best friends. Coincidentally, today she’s also the small business owner of an amazing integrative health practice here in DC, but I’m digressing.Liz taught me something I’d never learned before. She taught me to look at everyone as though they have something amazing to contribute to this world.
- And the second thing that taught me to treat everyone with respect was through the experience of running Her Corner.Once I got to know all the stories behind the women and their businesses, the challenges they had overcome, the obstacles they were dealing with, the tragedies they had faced – well, I was reminded that Liz was right. Not only was every single one of us individually amazing, but we were also living through our own personal stories.
And doesn’t that deserve compassion and respect?
No matter who you’re interacting with, resolve to treat everyone with respect. The outcomes may surprise you.
Frederique is the founder and CEO of Her Corner, a global peer-group community of women business owners committed to growth in their businesses. Her Corner applies a systematic, process-based approach that includes business-driven agendas, carefully selected facilitators, and metrics-focused growth measures in order to give women the springboard they need to move forward.
Her Corner is Frederique’s fourth business that grew out of a personal need for access to other motivated and ambitious women business owners with whom she could collaborate in order to accelerate growth in their businesses.
When Frederique is not managing the business operations of Her Corner, she can be found either running accelerator programs for Her Corner members or at the Kogod School of Business at American University where she teaches entrepreneurship, business management and organizational behavior.
Frederique holds an MBA from the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary and a BA in International and Russian Studies from Davidson College. She is a dual citizen of the United States and European Union, is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and conversant in Russian and Italian.