This week I attended the Women in Leadership Conference hosted by the OCU Meinders School of Business (thanks to my amazing supportive company – BIGWING!) Going into it I was sure I’d like the conference, but didn’t know how amazing, inspired, and powerful I would feel leaving it.
One thing I wanted to note about this conference is that it was in no way created to put men down (we love our men!), but to lift women up. I hardly every admit or like to talk about this issue because I don’t believe it, yet many women face sexism today. Sometimes you must admit a problem exists to overcome it, whether you want to or not.
Growing up, I was very lucky to be led by both a strong mother and father. I never felt weak, or less powerful than a man. Confidence was instilled in me at an early age and I have carried it like a shield growing up.
I haven’t felt the brunt of sexism often in my life. Both companies I have worked for have been led by strong women, I have a very supportive husband and father, and I haven’t felt my sex hold me back in terms of job growth or positions available to me. However, sexism is still there and I can’t just wish it away. We need to recognize it, and actively address it when we see it! Unfortunately this is not an easy problem to fix.
Here are some amazing takeaways that I learned from the conference that I would like to share with my fellow women! Rarely do you enjoy every single speaker that is at a conference, but this one was different. I loved every single presenter!
Marianne was the lead researcher for the book Lean In. She was the first speaker and many of her points were followed by a round of “YASSS!,” and “Amens,” from the crowd. She had research and statistics to back up every observation. She wasn’t making claims based on her feelings or judgments, but cold hard facts.
Key Takeaways from Marianne:
- She explained the difference between a growth mindset, and a fixed mindset. Those with growth mindsets typically grow and achieve more because they aren’t fixed in their ideas of “I could never do that” but rather have the mindset that they CAN if they work at it. We are never at a fixed state and should consider ourselves to be growing every day.
- “Women are mentored to death.” Marianne discussed the difference of being mentored versus sponsored. Mentored means you will be asked to coffee, be encouraged, and sent off with a good luck! (which is not to take away from how great mentors are!) but sponsors will speak up on your behalf most likely behind closed doors with people who can improve your current standings. Being sponsored is more help in terms of politics, advancement, etc. Having both is ideal.
- “Stop calling little girls bossy!” While most of us have heard this before, it’s always a great reminder. Don’t label authoritative little girls as bossy, you aren’t labeling little boys that way. They simply may be stating their desire or commanding the room. Don’t put poison into their young minds.
Deborah shared insight into how to present yourself and be memorable. She has coached plenty public speaking conferences and many people in their presentation of themselves, or what they want. I purchased her book, Out Front, and can’t wait to dive into it.
Key Takeaways from Deborah:
- Story structure’s should be told by the OSB. The Obstacle first, the Solution second, and the added Benefit at the end.
- Use active verbs in sentences. Passive verbs are like assisted, helped, work with.
- Take credit for what you have done. While you can use the word “we” you still need to credit yourself and say “I” too.
Charmaine was one of my favorites. She commanded the stage as soon as she stepped foot on the platform. She taught us about our “executive presence” and how to better present yourself.
Key Takeaways from Charmaine:
- Charmaine discussed how you should like your own voice and learn how to use it powerfully. She says she records her voice when she is happy, anxious, uncertain, etc. to know how her voice changes. Take control of your voice!
- I absolutely loved how she said she sends herself voicemails in the evening to listen to in the morning telling her she is strong, amazing, and powerful. Talk self love to yourself and listen to yourself.
- Before anyone can enter her office they have to have three things answered – 1)Why should I listen? 2)What’s in it for me? 3) What do you want me to do about it? Oh! I just love those. Those will definitely serve as my guide when speaking to managers and bosses. Basically – Get to the point!
There were many other wonderful speakers that made a huge impact and I am so happy that I got to hear their message and will continue to spread it every opportunity I can.
Now go out and spread confidence, love, and support to other friends, children, coworkers, and family.