Unveiling the Powerhouse: A Q&A Session with Lydia Fenet

From Auction Houses to Empowering Women, Lydia Shares Insights on Resilience, Wellness, and Claiming Confidence

Embarking on a journey at Christie’s auction house as an intern, Lydia Fenet dedicated two decades to ascend to the prestigious role of Global Managing Director. Simultaneously, she honed her skills as the lead benefit auctioneer, orchestrating 70-80 auctions annually—a masterclass in public speaking. Lydia's ability to read a room, craft compelling messages, and evoke genuine emotions forged her path to becoming an exceptional public speaker. Following the success of her debut book, "The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You," Lydia transitioned into an influential keynote speaker, represented by CAA. Now, as the founder and CEO of the Lydia Fenet Agency, she continues to make waves, representing top-tier charity auctioneers. Lydia's journey unfolds in this exclusive Q&A, where she shares insights on her career, empowering women, and the intricacies of public speaking.

GL: What inspired you to become a public speaker and write a second book?

LF: My passion for giving back, whether through benefit auctioneering or inspiring others, led me to become a public speaker. The desire to share insights on confidence, sparked by frequent questions from women asking about my journey, inspired my second book. I aim to empower others to claim their confidence because, as I believe, confidence is not born; it is made. This mission now extends to my podcast, "Claim Your Confidence," allowing me to reach even more individuals.

GL: What motivates you and keeps you passionate about what you do?

LF: The unwavering support and encouragement from my family have been the driving force behind my fearless pursuit of new challenges. Their belief in trying anything without the fear of failure serves as a constant inspiration, fueling my passion for what I do. Their influence has not only shaped my professional journey but also instilled a profound sense of motivation to continuously explore and embrace new opportunities.

GL: What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

LF: Historically auctioneers have been male. When I trained as an auctioneer, I always thought I had to wear a black suit on stage and affect a formal British accent so I didn’t stick out. That all changed when I realized I’d be far more successful selling as myself, in my bright, bold dresses and statement jewelry and my big Southern personality. Whenever I need a reminder to claim my confidence I use the SLAM method - a surefire way to rid myself of Imposter Syndrome. 

  • S -  stop counting yourself out. 

  • L - listen to what people are saying and don’t make up a negative ending

  • A - accept there are no good stars in life

  • M - make your point and don’t back down

GL: Describe a typical day or week in your professional life.

LF: No two days in my life are the same, but they all touch my true passions: auctioneering, motivating and inspiring others and exploring the world. I do anywhere between 2 - 4 auctions per week depending on whether I am in high season or low season, many of which I have to travel for, all while running my agency, hosting a podcast and training gin auctioneers. I find time to do some sort of exercise every day whether that be running or biking - or simply walking to school drop off and all my meetings in NYC which can easily mean 5-6 miles of walking. Exercise is a huge priority for me - the way we show up for our body is the way we show up for everyone around us. 

GL: How do you balance your work and personal life?

LF: I don’t believe a true work life balance exists. I prefer to think of the balance as sprint & plateau periods. My job is SO busy in the prime auction season (fall and spring), I spend every minute when I am not onstage or traveling with my family. During the slow periods I have more coffee meetings, informational interviews and lunches.  In the off seasons, I make it my mission to travel with my family as often as possible. Throughout the year, though, I find that open communication with both your partner and your kids is crucial - especially when there are very busy periods.

GL: Can you share details about any current projects you're working on?

LF: I’m thrilled to have just announced my first, annual “Claim Your Confidence Retreat”, which will be held in January at Shou Sugi Ban House in the Hamptons. If you are looking to kickstart 2024 with a boost of confidence and a road map to help you get there, this retreat is for you! I designed the retreat as an intimate gathering to help attendees build their confidence from the inside out. I’m taking many of the concepts I discuss in my books – from networking to the art of negotiation to public speaking – and turning them into interactive workshops and one-on-one discussions that will arm attendees with the tools they need to kick-off the New Year with intention and confidence. My hope is that everyone who attends this retreat will leave feeling rejuvenated and ready to jump into 2024 with a clear vision of their goals, and a roadmap for how to achieve them.

GL: With January being our Health and Wellness issue, what would you say to inspire people who have made a resolution to change their approach or mindset going into 2024?

LF: Start by writing down your three biggest priorities in life, and then make sure that whatever you are pursuing in 2024 aligns with those values. Always remember that you can change your life at any time, and that anything is possible when you see roadblocks as hurdles instead of barriers. Every single choice you make in life is yours to make, so make the choices that allow you to live the life you want.

SLAM method - a surefire way to rid myself of Imposter Syndrome. 

S -  stop counting yourself out. 

L - listen to what people are saying and don’t make up a negative ending

A - accept there are no good stars in life

M - make your point and don’t back down

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