Top 10 Things I Learned at the NEW Leadership Summit

a year ago

The Network of Executive Women Leadership Summit was held in Dallas last week, September 30 - October 2, 2015.  It is a jam packed conference full of inspiring speakers, informative content and opportunities to make new connections.  Here are the top ten things I learned:

1) Women love messages of empowerment.  We provide an app for Summit attendees to use for connecting with other attendees.  I posted a couple of inspirational quotes with images before the Summit and several women instantly liked and commented on my posts.  Many others also began posting inspirational messages in the "We Got This" genre.  It brought us together virtually.

2) Don't forget that your social media presence proceeds you.  When I met women on the 1st day of the Summit, many of them said they enjoyed my posts on the app and looked forward to meeting me.  Thanks social media!

3) Ask others about your brand.  I sat in a breakout session with Dorie Clark about personal branding.  Not sure what your personal brand is?  Dorie says ask others what three words describe you - soon you will learn what you are known for, that's your brand.

4) Our mothers didn't imagine careers like these.  My mom thought I should become a teacher or a secretary.  I chose a business career instead.  When I told my mom I was with 1,200 business women focused on advancement in business, I could tell she didn't really get it.  I met one attendee's mom on the airport shuttle after the Summit.  She is a retired teacher and flies into cities where her daughter is for conferences.  It's a way for her to travel and spend time with her.  She is truly in awe of her daughter's career.  We are living in a way our mother's couldn't imagine.

4) Intrapreneurship is gaining in popularity.  Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching and NEW Leadership Academy facilitator, led a session all about intrapreneurship.  600 attendees filled the room to learn about being an intrapreneur at work.  Work like it's your company!

5) The best key note speakers tell a story.  If it is their life story, even better.  I was reminded of this while watching Denice Torres pour out her heart and soul as described her journey from a humble upbringing in Gary, IN, to the executive ranks at Johnson & Johnson.  Such an inspiration!

6) Men are curious about what 1,200 women are doing in one ballroom...leadership development, of course!  One of the male attendees told me over breakfast on the last day that his "a ha moment" came when he realized the speakers and topics are relevant for women AND men.  It's all about learning and advancing as a leader.  Yes!

7) Attend an event that isn't directed at you.  If you are a man, go to a women's leadership conference.  If you are Caucasian, go to a diversity conference.  And so on. We need all types at the table.  Walk a day in someone else's shoes and you will grow in ways you never imagined.

8) "Nobody asks men if they're 'having it all.'  This my favorite comment from Debora Spar, president of Barnard College.  She spoke to us about giving up the unrealistic expectation of having it all.  Outsource whatever you can, focus on enjoying life more.  Happy is the new perfect.

9) Network with everyone.  When at an event, talk to someone standing alone.  Help them, introduce them to others.  You never know where it might lead them, and you.   Some of my best connections at the Summit came from the least expected sources.

10) Reflect on your experiences.  Everyone is very busy.  On to the next project, the next deadline.  Instead, take a moment to think about what you just experienced at an event or conference.  Creating this blog post made me think of what I really learned at the Summit.  And for that, I am grateful.

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