There are events in life that you prepare for: your wedding, the annual Thanksgiving dinner, graduation, the birth of your child. Then, there are events which you almost miss because you drank too much Pepsi and needed a bathroom break. Last night was such an event.
When the Alliance of Women in Technology nominated me for the Tech Titan Emerging Company CEO award, I was grateful. I felt honored that they would deem me worthy of their nomination. When I made one of four finalists I was thrilled. I thought “wow! the Judges really wanted to encourage a young entrepreneur.” And, that’s where I stopped. I didn’t dare dream that I would actually WIN the award. My fellow finalists were top notch CEOs and had accomplished more in their careers than most people accomplish in multiple life-times. I was truly excited about the Gala. Mostly about dressing up, going out with my husband, and eating good food! What can I say? I live for the simple pleasures.When someone asked me if I thought I was going to win, I just shook my head vehemently. “Who? Me? No way! Have you seem the other finalists? I am just going for the food. I am the kid they invited because you know – its cool to encourage the young folks.” I said it all with a smile and no false modesty. I was just plain thrilled to be there. I even asked my fashion forward social network if it would be faux pas to wear a sari to the gala. They unanimously agreed I should go for it. And, hey! Its not like I would be walking up the stage or anything.
The dinner was served, I made friends with the wonderful folks at our table, and we laughed at the entertainers who made fun of DC politics. They revealed the six magnificent trophies on stage, and I was bummed that as a finalist I wouldn’t even get a little one to take home. Oh well! Regardless, I decided I was glad I didn’t stick to my usual Friday routine of take-out and a movie in pajamas. This was cool! My award was the second announced and our table cheered when they called my name as a finalist. Then – they announced the winner. My husband turned to me said – “Oh my God! You won.” I looked at him and said “hey, that’s me!” I am glad the judges didn’t hear me just then because they may have decided they made a mistake. As I walked to the stage, I saw so many familiar and happy faces. I felt like Sally Fields probably did – “they like me! they really like me!” I shook hands, smiled, and was guided towards the podium. I mumbled something inaudible and blew a kiss to my husband. No, really. If I had the chance to do it again, this is what I would have said:
“Wow. I am humbled that the judges deemed me worthy of such a prize. It is one thing to encourage a young entrepreneur by naming her a finalist. All together another to honor her among her esteemed colleagues as their equal. To my fellow finalists – I look up to you all. Thank you so much. Thank you to the Higher Power that works in mysterious ways. Thank you to the Alliance of Women in Technology, especially Lisa Danzer, for their immense support and their kind nomination. Thank you to the DFW community for showing me so much love and welcoming me into the fraternity of Technology professionals. Thank you to my online community – although many of us have never met in person, you feel like family. Thank you to my family – my parents, my sister, my in-laws, my brother and sister-in law. Your love for me is the greatest gift I could have asked for. Thank you to my husband, Arshil Kabani, for being my partner in life and in business. To our clients, where would we be without you? Thank you for your continued faith in me. And, last but certainly not least, my team at The Zen Media Group. You guys inspire me in ways you will never know. A CEO is only as good as the people behind him or her. And, you are the best.”