DC Recap: Changemaker Chat with Victoria Espinel

unnamed-61Thank you to everyone who joined us last Thursday for our DC Changemaker Chat with Victoria A. Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. Also, a big thanks to our sponsor Weber Shandwick for hosting us and our superstar volunteers who are integral in pulling off each Chat!

Check out the highlights of the Chat below. And stay tuned for our next chat on January 26 with Sonal Shah!


“The beauty is, if you do what you’re afraid of enough times, you will no longer be afraid of doing it.”

This month’s theme across Changemaker Chats is “VOICE.” To explore this theme, we at Changemaker Chats DC had the privilege of featuring Victoria A. Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. We learned about the importance of faking it until you make it, searching for luck, and setting boundaries to achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Project confidence, even if you don’t feel like you have it:  It’s important to project calmness – even if you feel quite the opposite! Victoria urged us all to consider confidence to be a skill that you can grow like any other… so at least once a week, do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Through practice, you’ll grow more at ease in new situations, and while you can’t prepare for every contingency, you can prepare for how you will react when things seem out of control.


  • For most of us, everything is a choice: Though we might feel otherwise sometimes, those of us reading this are extraordinarily lucky. While we all have faced challenges in our lives, the fact that we at Changemaker Chats DC are able to sit in a room together and ask open and honest questions in a supportive environment demonstrates that. Most of us are able to make choices in terms of what we want to do on a daily basis and who we want in our lives. Remember that with everything we do, we are largely choosing to do it. And that means we can un-choose it! So, when things seems hectic, take a pause to remember why you made that choice and re-evaluate if that choice is still worth it.
  • Follow what seems right to you: Throughout her career, Victoria has felt most fulfilled when she followed the path that seemed right to her – and this didn’t always intersect with what others felt were the ‘right thing’ for her. Nevertheless, when following the ‘right path’ as defined by others, you’re selling short your own passions. Don’t underestimate persistence – throughout Victoria’s career, she feels as if she got lucky, but she was proactively searching for this luck through networking, publishing, and pushing boundaries.


  • Boundaries: Set the boundaries that seem right to you – no one else will do it for you. These boundaries can change depending on the job in question… but ultimately, it is up to us to choose what are boundaries are and then softly teach them to others.
  • Focus: It’s easy today to lose focus given all the directions we are pulled in. But, throughout her personal and professional life, Victoria has learned the importance of focusing in the present – be that when she is at work, when she is with her husband, when she is with her two kids, and the like. It’s important not to dilute the important things in life by not focusing on them in the moment.

Thank you to Victoria for sharing her experiences with us so openly and genuinely. It was an honor to get to know you better! For those interested, please follow Victoria on Twitter at @victoriaespinel.

Thanks to each and every one of you for helping us build Changemaker Chats in DC over the last year, and please do drop us a line if you are interested in helping build it more next year.