Last night Suzanne Lightcap was crowned the 2010 Kimberton Fair Queen in the Chester County suburbs outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When they announced her name, Suzanne looked shocked. I wasn’t. I was one of the judges, and I voted for her.
When I was asked to be a judge, it was an easy call. The Kimberton Fair Queen contest is fairly unique. It’s not a trite competition which focuses on looks – though clearly each contestant is an attractive young woman. Instead, it’s about the stuff leadership is made of: her message, her ability to communicate that message, and her presence, specifically the way she conducts herself in the judging process. So how could I not say “yes” to something that promotes leadership and skill-building for young women?
Skill-Building is what I discussed with outgoing Queen Jessica Dixon as we waited for the “show” to begin. Jessica, while navigating her way through her freshman year at West Chester University, was active in the 2009-10 “Queen” events. Focused on promoting Pennsylvania’s farming community, she participated in farm-related events. She also worked a project that brought inner city children to farms. She laughs, “It’s good that kids know how fruits and vegetables are grown, and that hamburgers don’t come from McDonald’s.” And last winter she competed against sixty other young women from all across the state. She said she had a great year and was excited for the incoming queen.
This year, Suzanne will follow the same pattern. I believe she’s up to the task. When I was evaluating her, I especially liked two things about Suzanne. First of all, she was passionate about the substance of the fair. An annual attendee (Suzanne’s first Kimberton contest was the baby contest), she became increasingly more involved each year, submitting entries into art and agriculture contests, working booths, and doing grunt work for the fair. So when she spoke at the judging, and during her interview, I really felt that she would embody the best of everything about her county and the fair.
But that isn’t all.
While Suzanne Lightcap’s interview was impressive, and she earned my vote based on her performance, there’s more about her that impressed me. The 2010 contest wasn’t her first shot at the queenly opportunity. She’d competed for several years. She even earned the “ambassador” role, but not queen. Yet she didn’t give up. This year she tried again, giving it her all. She built on her previous competition experiences to help her win this year.
Passion and persistence: two qualities that enhance the leadership style of every woman. Congratulations to Suzanne Lightcap – and I hope she fans the “P&P” flames in everything she does.
And to you, victorious woman leaders that you are, I hope you use Passion and Persistence to get MORE of the life you want.