Recent Conference Touches on Pressing Female Issues
Photo: L/R: Michelle Y. Talbert, Esq., Angela Rogers, MS, Ebony Smith, MS, PCC, and Kathy Gruver, Ph.D.
Approximately 70 women from all walks of life — including a representative from Women in Business — were in attendance for the Empowering Women in Leadership Conference, hosted by Melissa A. Walker, Ph.D., and Training and Development Network, LLCTraining and Development Network, LLC, at The Penn Stater Conference Center April 9–10. The two-day conference focused on the relevance and advancement of current and aspiring women in leadership with full days of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities. All in all, this one-of-a-kind event was enlightening and inspiring for every female in the room, as a broad array of informative speakers offered the advice and tools needed to help businesswomen — and others — move forward in their careers and in life.
Speaker topics ranged from salary negotiation and courage in leadership to emotional labor in the workplace, but each presenter layered and intertwined their subject with principals and strategies to break negative behavior patterns that frequently hold women back in the workplace, the end goal being a breakthrough to new career heights.
The keynote speaker was Ebony Smith, MS, PCC., who spoke on creating agency and navigating change through resilient, progressive and strategic change management skills. These skills not only apply to a woman’s career, but also her family, health, both physical and emotional, and finances. When any of these aspects of our lives descend into turmoil, it’s important to have a certain set of values — authenticity and integrity among them — to anchor oneself through the storm.
Angela Rogers, MS, spoke to an enthralled crowd on the phenomenon of impostor syndrome, a very real condition that affects both men and women. Those with impostor syndrome often feel as if they have no “right” to be in their professional role, like they didn’t quite earn it or they’re not talented enough — in other words, like an impostor. The workshop taught women how to stop self-doubt in its tracks, leave the comparisons behind and break negative cycles of fear.
Other topics of discussion over the two days that seemed to receive high audience participation included communication and building a “tribe.” The former can be difficult for women in the workplace, even though we’re often known as prime communicators. A session by Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., delved into better ways to communicate, both at work and outside the office, by eliminating defensive phrasing, unclear verbiage and a lack of presentness from our interactions.
The idea of building a tribe has been popular on social media for several years now, and you’ll see many women tagging their #tribe on Twitter or Instagram, often accompanied by photos of happy, successful, beautiful women loving life. But, what do you do when you feel isolated from those types of photos, as if you don’t belong or you don’t have a tribe of your own? A strategic workshop from Michelle Y. Talbert, Esq., covered how to nurture one’s own tribe by expanding one’s network of mentors, peers and mentees in order to benefit personally from others’ differences and opinions.
Throughout all the above and so much more, attendees openly participated and shared their own experiences for a liberating, unifying time that left so many emboldened and confident. We’re sure that a large majority of those in attendance departed the final day of the conference with useful skills, resources and leadership tools at their disposal.
Additional Speakers included:
Beth Wolfe – Lessons on Courage in Leadership from the #MeToo EraMe (Hear the Beth Wolfe interview here)
Bri Jones – An Ambitious Woman’s Guide to Successful Salary Negotiation (Hear the Bri Jones Interview here)
Tahira Bharmal – Embracing Differences (Hear the Tahira Bharmal interview here )
Melissa A. Walker
A recent study in the American Economic Review reported that women volunteer for ‘non-promotable’ tasks more than men; that women are more frequently asked to take such tasks on; and that when asked, they are more likely to say yes.
Now, it’s time to see what these empowered women do with their newfound knowledge. Will they invoke change in their spheres of influence? Will they abandon the hamster wheel of monotonous office life for bigger and better opportunities? Will they embrace challenges with self-assurance? Whatever the businesswomen at the recent Empowering Women in Leadership Conference do next, you can be sure you’ll read about it in Women in Business.
Make sure you keep an eye out for next year’s Empowering Women in Leadership Conference and get your tickets early (this year’s conference was sold out with a waiting list of more than 150 women!).
If you’d like additional details – contact
Melissa A. Walker, Ph.D.
Training and Development Network