The 2023 Empowered Women Event Taught Me Not to Dim My Shine

Posted by: Allison Nussbaum


“No fakes allowed. Most of us know what it’s like to be around a truly authentic person and someone trying to be someone or something they just aren’t. Authentic people instill a sense of trust. You trust that what they say and do is based on how they really think and feel.” – Susan Freeman

In 2019, I was privileged to attend Susan Freeman’s inaugural Empowered Women event in San Francisco.

I had no idea what to expect other than a group of kick-ass women had been assembled to tell their stories, both personal and professional, in front of a group of like-minded women (and a few men.) It was a day I will never forget for its open, honest, and authentic conversations and for the fact that I finally met Susan in person.

Fast forward a few years, and Susan approached Pitchly to sponsor this year’s event, and we jumped at the opportunity to be part of such a special program.


What I Learned at Empowered Women 2023

On the day of the event, as speaker after speaker took the stage, I was humbled by their honesty and candor.

These women dug deep into their souls to tell us about their challenges, joy, and sorrows. Some focused on work, others on deeply personal experiences.


Of all the messages, the one that has stuck with me the most is “Don’t Dim Your Shine.”


Most women are conditioned to dim our shine.

It’s instilled in us from the time we are small children – even when we have parents who actively try to counteract society’s norms – all the way through school and into the workplace.

It’s evidenced in our language: "I'm no expert in this, but…" "Does that make sense?" or "I just wanted to check..."? Research indicates that women often employ self-minimizing or 'softer' language in the workplace and are more likely to apologize unnecessarily, and we are tacitly punished when we do not.

Virtually every speaker told a story of minimizing their gifts and talents until they just couldn’t do it anymore.

Just because others can’t handle your light's glare, do not dim it.


Amplifying the Pitchly Team’s Shine

Here at Pitchly, I lead a team that is 100% female, and we work hard to guard against dimming our own or anyone else’s light.

We speak freely but respectfully. Sometimes things get spicy, and that’s not just ok - it’s great.

I love the passion they bring to their work and their lives. We range in age from 20-something to 60-something and have varied interests and belief systems. We each carry different burdens; some of us share a lot, some just a little. We are not the same - and that’s the point! We try to be vigilant about giving people grace and space. It is too easy to be inadvertently unkind.

Years ago, I left traditional corporate America and have been fortunate to find workplaces that embrace and celebrate their team members for bringing their whole authentic selves to work.

Pitchly is one of those places. We have Slack channels to share pictures of kids and pets, road trips, and, most important of all, our gratitude to our colleagues.


Love is the Connecting Theme

At the Empowered Women event, a thread of love tied every speaker together. Love for self. Love for others. Love for life. Love for work. I left energized, engaged, and, yes, empowered -  but above all else, it was affirmed for me how special it is that I get to work with a group of people who not only never dim my shine but always help me turn it up!

Last note: Our phenomenal host Gina Furia Rubel, summed the day up in a spoken-word poem. I encourage you to read it.


Allison Nussbaum is the VP of Client Value at Pitchly. Between her years of experience working in large corporations, law firms and now a startup, Allison has mastered the art of looking at problems and challenges in a unique way, connecting the dots between people, processes, and technology, and to build the client success function at three early stage software companies.

You can connect with Allison on LinkedIn.