By: Amelia @ameliaismore Moore
As someone who attends numerous conferences especially those that are geared towards women empowerment, there is one I wait for every year. Established in 2009, Women in CT is a forum/conference that not only informs but rejuvenates you as a professional and a woman.
For the past four years I have been attending this wonderful convening of women in consumer technology, media, pr, sales, etc. All professionals, these women convene with one purpose; to grow a sisterhood within a male dominated industry. Not to male bash but rather to understand the dynamic of what it means to be a woman in a male dominated industry. As someone who is far too familiar and completely understands the challenges of that positioning, I attend because every year it is a room full of like minded women.
Spearheaded by our herculean Carol Chambers, Women in CT is not just a forum it’s an experience. A redefinition of who we are as women in business as well as a barometer to help women understand as a woman in business you are not alone.
This year’s forum focused on how to design your life. We heard how to focus on the importance of a balanced life between business and personal. Our day began with New York Times bestseller author, journalist and public speaker; Gail Sheely. She began her presentation by asking the women in the room to choose one word that would best describe them. My word was brave. Congruent with her newest book; “Daring” Gail explained that learning and listening are the two most powerful things you can do to be successful. She challenged all of us to; “Dare to lead like a woman.” She went on to explain that when she fears she dares herself. Her life example was when she decided that she wanted to write stories that were not “women stories.” She dared to pitch a story and got the job. That dare led her to interviewing Bobby Kennedy. “BE DARING!”
Known for her philosophy of passages of life she told the women that it’s important to incorporate the 4 P’s in their journey of life. They are: Passion, Priorities, Purse Strings and lastly to understand the Power of the Tribe. She went on to say that as women we are tribal. Therefore we should value collaboration. Establishing teams at times can be challenging. She went on to explain that if you listen to your team participants they feel included. Yet to maintain motivation and initiative it’s equally important to recognize the unique contribution each member of the team contributes to the whole. However one of the most poignant things she said was; “No dominate power gives up power and dominance unless it’s forced on them.” Many times as women play our position instead of taking charge. We follow even though we know we can lead and do the job. Dare to lead like a woman!
Up next is a woman who from the first day I heard her speak about “football hands” I knew she had so much to offer to others. Just like EF Hutton when she talks you should listen. Sam Horn (Ideapreneur) is someone over the years who has dared to do, dream, create and conquer. Those very actions have given her a wealth of knowledge that she freely shares with all the Women in CT every time she speaks. This year our Women in CT favorite and reoccurring guest speaker spoke about an ideal she created in 2010. SerenDestiny is not something passive that is out of our control. She explained that you don’t have to sit and wait for it to happen. Instead she told us to snap the rubber bands of routine. She gave us 8 ideals or steps to help facilitate it. First was Catalyst: If you don’t do something different things will stay the same. She went on to say that we all need contrast. She advised us to disrupt our defaults. Are you an aircraft carrier that takes 4 miles with the engine in reverse to stop or 10 miles to make a turn? If yes, then it’s time to disrupt your category. The next ideal was to remind yourself that it’s not selfish to do the one thing that puts the light bulbs on in your eyes. She challenged us to ask; while doing service to other are we doing service to ourselves? She reminded us any strength taken to an extreme is our default. Four was put yourself in your own story. This being one of my defaults my take away was if it doesn’t involve you then it’s not your business. Meaning that the only business you are doing is other people’s business. Not yours! So how do you expect to grow when you are planting your seeds in someone else’s garden? Be clear it’s not your garden. It’s your seed but their garden. Right? The next one spoke directly to me. The fifth ideal was a directive to build in space to think and leave room for whims. Far too many times we as professionals plan every day of our life. Yet if we leave open time we leave ourselves open to experience something unexpected and new. She went on to say; “When we plan our life we don’t partner with our life.” It’s the difference between living a planned life and experiencing a destined life. Six was something I have committed myself to for over a year now. It’s simple. Focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t want in life. Seven was keep our antenna up for entrepreneurial opportunities. The last one number eight was; “Contrast is the key to having the best of all worlds.” Understand that the words you use to describe yourself are the words that define you. She concluded with a suggestion for us to learn to ride the river of relationships and the current of connections. SerenDestiny!
The next speaker Kendra Thomas spoke on a subject that is my life and basis of my new book. For over ten years Barbara Annis has dedicated her life to a term she created called; “Gender Intelligence.” Recently she partnered with Peason to create a digital platform that can help inform and teach the importance of understanding “Gender Intelligence. “ Kendra Thomas head of Global Diversity at Perason made it clear that understanding the difference can and does enable companies /individuals to more effectively leverage the unique skills men and women bring to a culture while embedding in their organizations that great minds think alike. It was scientific and very informative as well as reassuring that as women we can’t be the same as men because scientifically we are constructed differently. Going back to Gail’s ideal; “ Dare to lead like a woman.”
There were so many more things we experienced in one day. The Fire Side chat was illuminating to observe a mother and her daughter have two different approaches to business. Their differential was more due to the generation gap and the social practices of their generation rather than the action of conducting business. Moderated by Andrea Smith, Karyn Schoenbart discussed how she likes written thank you notes while her daughter a millennial Danielle Sporkin felt snail mail is too slow and the immediate interaction of an email is just as effective.
The experience, amount of knowledge and effective networking you receive at Women in CT is far more valuable than the cost to attend. Women in CT provides women in the Consumer Technology (and others industries) with a community in which to share essential resources and connect with others who are focused on the same vision of empowerment, building networks and supporting career opportunities. Member benefits include a mentoring program, online resources, the Women in CT Connect Program, a monthly newsletter and live events. What moore can you ask? Be certain to like Women in CT on Facebook and join the movement of women empowerment. It’s always a wonderful prelude to CE Week. See you next year!