Last week in my “Sell Me Something Workshop” I brought in American grand dame Lucille Ball in the TV, advertisement and comedic classic: VITAMEATAVEGAMIN. We learned from what Lucy (McGuillicuddy Ricardo) did masterfully in her “sales pitch” and from what she bungled for “not knowing her product.” This episode is so cherished that a gentleman walking down the corridor couldn’t help but come in and join us. He was belly laughing, as was I. Lucy’s authenticity – her gestures and her expressions – speaks right to your heart. And, from the business, entertainment and media perspectives, Lucy’s impact on TV and comediennes thereafter is nothing short of stunning. Take, for example, this Queens native’s favorite, The Nanny, brought to life by Fran Drescher.
But above all, I am thinking now about Lucy’s subtle and sophisticated contribution to us women in the workforce and in the business world more broadly. In this episode are men’s inflammatory references to “the girl” and her husband Ricky’s sexist frowning on her career and her use of her maiden name professionally. He even scolds her – publicly no less – for defying his wishes. Yet, in the scenes – and behind them – is a woman who is undeterred and unflappable. In velvet gloves, high heels and a pill-box hat was a trailblazer who produced, starred-in and made iconic a TV phenomenon – and brought along a crew of colleagues. Both the character she played – and the woman she was – forged forward in professional life and as a wonderful wife, mother, friend, colleague and business partner. She did it all.
As a younger woman, I missed the satire for the comedy. Now, as a gal on the other side of life’s heavy lifting – childrearing and career- building – I am reminded that progress and feminism take many forms. Now, I see the satire through the clarity of the rear view mirror. Now, I have fallen in love with Lucy all over again – not blindly, but panoramically.
Lisa Bernard has prepared and represented people from all walks of life to speak publicly at meetings, on panels, in their places of worship and as keynoters. She herself has addressed audiences as large as 2000 and designed and delivered over 500 workshops, seminars and college-level courses on oral communication. She has slowed down fast-talkers, turned “uhmers” into smooth-speakers and moderated accents from Brooklyn to Beijing – all to develop confident communicators. Lisa has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and today manages Lisa Bernard’s SecuritySpeak, LLC, a consulting firm that makes available experts on national, global and cyber-security for distinguished lectures worldwide. You can reach her at (203) 293-4741 or LisaBernard@SecuritySpeak.net and like her firm at www.Facebook.com/PodiumTime.