Member Article: Finding My Remarkable, by Rhonda Holland

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

Introduction from Gillian Lawrence:  

Rhonda Holland is the Director of Finance and Group Controller for MasterBUILT Hotels and a new member of CREW Calgary, recently joining in June 2017.  The past year Rhonda participated in the first session of CREW Network’s Leadership Certificate Program. This Leadership Connection session focused on self-awareness and the importance of making authentic connections with people’s minds and hearts. Facilitated by Dr. Gloria Schuck from MIT’s Center for Real Estate, one of the program's assignments was to write a reflection paper. This is Rhonda’s personal reflection and she has agreed to share it. She put herself out there during the program, and is now doing so again by sharing her valuable reflections.

Finding My Remarkable by Rhonda Holland 


I would like to preface this by saying that I have never considered myself remarkable. There are women half my age that have already achieved twice as much as what I’ve done. I am so proud that they will be the future leaders of our world and make differences that I can only dream of achieving.

I became a member of CREW just over 6 months ago, wanting to reach out to other like-minded women in business. I wanted to meet new people, learn about new business, and spend time with women that share common interests. I knew of one CREW member and recall her speaking about her involvement with the Calgary chapter. I admired her for her contributions, her dedication, and the way that she became so passionate when talking about the organization.

So, I made the tiny step. I requested a reference letter from a close friend and colleague, applied for membership and paid my dues. I attended my first chapter event. It was great! I knew other women in the room and met a few more along the way. By then summer was in full swing and I missed events due to work-related travel and vacations. It got easier to take my membership for granted as life got busier. At the end of September, I received an email from CREW Network regarding its Leadership Certificate Program. I thought to myself, I need to put myself out there to make this work. I can’t just keep going to one small networking event once every three or four months.

I spent part of the day researching the information that was sent to me, including the speakers that were being brought in for the program and the overall the time commitment that I would need to commit in order to participate. Being a resident of Alberta, I found and applied for an Alberta government grant to support the tuition part of the leadership certificate. I put forward a proposal to participate in the Leadership Certificate Program to my company executive.  They had said if the grant was accepted, they would support the remainder of the costs. I waited one month for approvals and everything was accepted. Off I went to Tucson at the end of January for CREW Network’s Leadership Certificate Program and the Winter Leadership Summit!

So now comes the hard part. On the outside I appear confident, outgoing, and eager for new adventure. On the inside I am like almost everyone and feel doubts about myself. What would happen if they didn’t like me? What would happen if I wasn’t smart enough for them? What would happen if I wasn’t accepted?

At that point I made the decision to put myself out there and take the risk, following my original plan. The whole week in Tucson would be a waste if I looked back and didn’t feel like I gave it my all.

I attended the first reception which kicked of the Leadership Certificate Program. I introduced myself to many women, had good discussions with several and ended up going to dinner with two CREW delegates from New Jersey. That first step gave me the confidence to really be myself. The next day in the leadership course I decided to take it a step further. I love seeing the other side of the coin and debating the other side of someone’s thoughts. With that in mind, partway through the morning session, I took the microphone and stated my opinion on a matter. Another step toward in putting myself out there. At lunch, one of my colleagues approached me and thanked me for giving a different perspective to the material that was being presented. She appreciated the fact that someone else was thinking the same thoughts she was.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but unless you try you will never know. Through the remainder of the week my confidence continued to grow. I was in a room with hundreds of remarkable women. They were kind. They were funny. They were accepting and challenging. Phenomenal women!  And I must say, they had some pretty damn nice shoes. And I was actually part of it!

Thank you CREW for helping me find my remarkable. I came home with a feeling of worth and belonging that isn’t sold in any book stores.