JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

May 2, 2024

I was invited to take part in a LinkedIn Live event recently on the topic of Authenticity. And I must admit, it really made me think about who I am. After all, I am an onion. With almost 40 years on this planet in my current fleshy body, I’ve had several different iterations of myself form and come to light. Each year that passes, another layer of my skin grows. My perspectives get wider. And just like an onion, I will keep growing larger with the help of some sun, water, and care.

At the current moment in time, I feel more connected to my inner power and intuition. I’ve learned to listen to my gut feelings and express myself clearly and concisely. When I talk to my friends of similar age, many of them express similar sentiments. Growing older is empowering. When I talk to my friends of older ages, most of them tell me to wait, as they assure me that feeling only grows stronger in time (if I let it.) And when I talk to my friends of younger ages, they express being able to be more authentic around me because I give them that space. My authenticity begets other’s ability to be authentic.

The Stand

Yesterday, I volunteered to work at the Little League concessions stand. It was the first time I volunteered for that particular task, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I knew I would show up as my authentic self, even if that meant admitting my need for guidance and grace. As it turned out, four of the five volunteers were also first timers, so we all just leaned in, took a task, and worked together as a team. We were all there for the same purpose – to earn money for our children’s future baseball and softball leagues. And based on that, we all trusted each other enough to be authentic and try to enjoy ourselves.

And I have to admit, I had a great time. We laughed. We had each other’s back when it got busy. And we met each other’s children and grew our community – in the matter of three hours. When our shift was done and we had to close the store, we followed the directions and handled all the yucky tasks. I swept the gross bathrooms out and took out the trash. The other parents cleaned the fry-o-later, disinfected the bathrooms, and counted the cash.


When I think of authenticity, I usually think of how I show up in my professional life. But yesterday, I learned that to truly encompass my authenticity, I must be authentic in every space. I must home in on what makes me tick and embrace the human I have become. And as Eckhart Tolle is know to have said,

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”