Join Lydia Fenet and me in this episode of the Productive Living series as we talk about leading with confidence, negotiating for what you're worth, and networking like a pro.
Leadership for all of us: knowing your worth and negotiating with confidence
Lydia is Global Managing Director and Strategic Partnerships and Lead Benefit Auctioneer at Christie’s Auction House. She has led auctions for more than 600 organizations and raised over half a billion dollars for nonprofits globally. She was named one of New York’s most influential women by Gotham magazine and has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Crain’s, and has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Town & Country. Her widely acclaimed book, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You, was published by Simon & Schuster and was optioned for TV/Film by New Form Entertainment. Lydia is also a wife and mom who lives in New York City with her family.
Lydia first moved to New York City 20 years ago, after leaving college and securing a job at Christie's Auction House. While Lydia was in college in 1997, she read an article in Vanity Fair magazine about how Princess Diana sold her dresses for charity and she thought it was incredible. She decided right then that she had to work at Christie's and told everyone she met that she was going to work there one day. Lydia thinks that voicing your goals to others is very important, and in this case, it worked! She ended up encountering an employee of Christie's, which enabled her to get an internship while in college, and that led to her job. Lydia has been at Christie's in various roles for 20 years. She has a passion for her work, which was not something she necessarily envisioned doing while growing up in a small town. She wants to share her passion and message with other women who may want to do something bigger with their lives and to have confidence while doing it.
Lydia's role as a Charity Auctioneer
In Lydia's role as a charity auctioneer, she does talk very fast, if that's something you were wondering about. But she also gets to see beautiful and rare pieces sold all the time, such as a da Vinci painting worth half a million dollars. She gets to stand on stage in front of a crowd with items she has selected for the auction and uses a variety of skills she has learned over time to get the audience excited and competitive with each other, all with the goal of having them bid against each other to raise the most money for a good cause. Lydia loves this part of her job and the "feel good" moments it brings, as well as knowing she is contributing to helping others.
What inspired Lydia to write her book
Lydia says that every time she does her job as an auctioneer, either before or after the auction takes place, there are women who will come up to her and say that they could never do what she does. This may be for a variety of reasons, such as they hate selling or asking others for something or to do something. Lydia began to hear this often and realized that the skills these women lacked were something she lacked at one point too, but she learned the skills and they could too. It was then that she decided to write her book, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You, to teach women the tools she has learned over the last 16 years--how to be confident in front of crowds, how to sell a product or idea, or even themselves, and feel good while doing it.
A lot of Lydia's book relates to leadership in a broad sense. One of the themes she comes back to throughout the book is inspiring others and leading by example. When it comes to leadership, Lydia says one of the most important aspects of it is supporting the cause. If you are someone who takes credit for all of the good things that happen and lea...