Going once, going twice — sold!
The art of being an auctioneer is not for the faint of heart, and one woman is proving that time and time again.
Lydia Fenet has been an auctioneer for over 20 years. She told Fox News Digital the exact moment she knew she was destined for this unique career.
The catalyst for her was “an article about Princess Diana’s dresses being sold at Christie’s Auction House,” she recalled.
Fenet was a junior in college studying abroad at the University of Oxford in England when she read the article in a magazine.
It ultimately convinced her that she needed to work in the auction industry.
After applying for an internship at Christie’s later than most applicants, the Louisiana-raised student said she began calling the company and begging for a spot in the program.
“The woman said, ‘I’m sorry, it’s already full’ — and I just kept calling,” said Fenet.
She finally secured a spot after agreeing to not participate in museum tours with the group — which was the reason Christie’s couldn’t add another intern due to the maximum tour attendance.
The then-college student, who said her parents were always supportive in her endeavors, gave credit to the internship for confirming her instinct that being an auctioneer was what she was destined to do with her life.
After graduating from Sewanee: The University of the South with a dual degree in history and art history, Fenet returned to Christie’s where she worked for the next 24 years — until leaving in May 2023.
While at Christie’s, Fenet served as the global managing director of strategic partnerships, helping to raise over $1 billion for more than 800 organizations.
Fenet, a mom of three, said she was trained to be an auctioneer but quickly learned that letting her personality shine on stage was her key to success — often allowing her to raise millions for a charity in one night.
The resident of New York (for 24 years) said she accepted an auction gig early on in her career that changed the way she approached auctioneering. She got on stage, she said, and was simply herself.
“You’re reacting to an audience of people who don’t want you on stage, so you have to make it fun, interesting and dynamic,” she said.
The auctioneer focuses on charity auctions. She said cracking jokes and interacting well with the audience is what tends to keep their attention — ultimately earning the charity more money at the end of the night.
“If you have someone who knows what they’re doing on stage, you can get 50% more if someone knows how to work an audience,” she said.
Fenet said she has gained confidence over the years from practice and experience, but that she was constantly getting the same response from other women when she would leave the stage at the end of the night.
“Every time I was coming off the stage, there was always a woman who was waiting stage-left, telling me she could never sell anything, could never do what I did,” she recalled.
This trend sparked Fenet to write her first book, “The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You,” which was released in 2021.
It discusses how to become a powerful person through networking, never apologizing, perfecting a poker face and always telling the truth.
While on her book tour, Fenet said she began to realize that every woman was asking her the same types of questions when given the chance.
“The questions were always about confidence and lined up as impostor syndrome,” she said.
Some questions included, “What do you think about the days when you’re not feeling good?” and “How do you feel about work-life balance?”
Fenet said she started writing down common themes, which led to her 2023 publication, “Claim Your Confidence: Unlock Your Superpower and Create the Life You Want.”
It shares the ways that Fenet has overcome challenges and continues to display confidence — and how to hold onto it.
The well-known auctioneer also has a podcast called “Claim Your Confidence.” She interviews successful businesspeople and discusses how they gained success by exuding confidence.
Fenet is taking her auctioneering expertise to the next level with her own boutique auctioneering agency, Lydia Fenet Agency, which represents charity auctioneers across the country.
“For me, it feels good to put somebody out there that I know is going to do an amazing job,” she said.
Fenet plans to expand and broaden the agency in the next year.