|Ginny Robertson is WomanScope Magazines Woman of the Month|
|June 2, 2007|
|Ginny Robertson: WomanScope Woman of the Month!|
By Elizabeth Janney
Small-town girl moves to city, climbs corporate ladder, jumps off, and lands on the softest place to fall - herself.
By doing what looked right but acknowledging what felt wrong, Ginny Robertson got where she is today - a business owner, magazine publisher, radio show co-host, and book editor, surrounded by other women who are her clients, colleagues, and friends. Ginny's story is the backdrop for her message: Women have the tools for building their dreams; they just need help accessing them.
Having filled a variety of positions in industries from corporate finance to holistic living, Ginny's business now is not what to do but how to enable others to see their strengths.
“I didn't have a lot of role models,” she says, adding that the only careers available to women when she was growing up in the coal fields of West Virginia were secretaries, nurses, and teachers.
Although Ginny went to college intending to become an educator, she wasn't enthused; she was merely doing what her parents and teachers expected. In spite of herself, today she is an instructor, albeit an unconventional one'a motivational speaker who helps women pick up speed along the path to success in business. Her most popular workshop is called “Getting Out of Your Own Way.” But until she was 40, this self described “recovering good girl” continued, in her own way, doing what she thought others expected, their way.
At 19, Ginny dropped out after completing two years of college to marry a man who brought her to Baltimore. There, a corporation hired her and paid for the rest of her education on the condition that she switch her major to business management with a concentration in finance. Over the next 18 years, Ginny received promotion after promotion. As she moved up the corporate ladder, she switched companies, staying in business while she raised her son, Chris, and went through a divorce in 1985.
Despite doing all the “right” things, Ginny was unfulfilled. She says she had bought into the idea that “she who has the most toys wins.” In search of something different, in 1987 she attended the Excellence Series, a seminar-based program for personal and professional development. In 1989, she was invited to join the facilitators' training program with Context Associated, the company that designed the program. Ginny credits this experience with “jump-starting” the changes in her life. In 1992, she left her corporate job because she knew it was the right thing to do.
After leaving the corporate world and taking a 60% pay cut, Ginny's material toys were replaced by meaningful relationships. With the intent of “showing off” her friends, she threw a party at her house in 2000 to share all the “cool women” she knew with each other.
Then the unexpected happened. She says, “Usually, we all walk around with our successful masks on.” But at her party, business cards and masks were not at the forefront; conversations and authentic connections were.
After a deluge of requests for more “cool women” parties, Ginny took the idea out of her living room and put the group into a larger forum, using professional buildings and spiritual centers as venues. In March 2000, she held her first official On Purpose Networking for Women event. Seven years later, On Purpose Networking for Women has attracted more than 200 members in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, and Frederick counties! Groups meet monthly for dinner, lectures, discussions, and, of course, opportunities to connect.
“I've always been a connector,” Ginny says, as if walking straight out of The Tipping Point. On Purpose Networking for Women began with her friends and acquaintances and their friends and acquaintances. These days, the bulk of new members seek out the gatherings after reading Ginny's magazine, On Purpose Woman.
The magazine came together in the same way that Ginny's journey has: She adopted the image of what others thought “it” should look like, then made it her own from the inside out.
For more than 20 years, Ginny had wanted her own publication. People said she would need an outrageous amount of money; so she let her dream go for a while and contributed to someone else's. She wrote a column for a local magazine until it ceased publishing in 2003.
That year, when her son married a woman who had just gotten a degree in graphic design, Ginny made the connection. “I asked her, if I gave her ads and articles, whether she could make it look like a magazine,” Ginny recalls. “This really interested her, so I started planning what the magazine would cover. I reached out to my network and they came through with advertising dollars. Our first issue came out in December 2003.” True to its tagline - “living a richer, fuller life” On Purpose Woman provides avenues to empowerment.
In the bimonthly magazine's most recent issue, Ginny encourages women to play “both detective and archaeologist” to find and excavate the inner voice that speaks their purpose.
Ginny's enthusiasm about the process and her lack of stock in results are keys to her success. The work she does transcends category and defies convention, because her message is so simple and down-to-earth that it seems incredible most of us don't get it for ourselves. But we don't. And that's why Ginny is in business, empowering women to realize their potential and reach for their dreams.