"Women in business supporting other women, who support men, who support their fellow women... what a wonderful world it will be!" -- Betsy Myers, Speaker, Public Servant, Advocate, Mentor, Author: Take the Lead
"I do this because I think about my daughter, and what it will be like for her when she grows up." -- Vince Cirianni, Chair, Women Leading the Way Symposium, Member, RVCC Foundation Board; Co-Managing Partner, Preferred Client Group
The world of business is changing; something we are all seeing and hearing. Especially at this time of year when summer is upon us. As Americans gear up for college graduations and the end of the school year, there are many lessons to be learned by startup and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Some lessons are conveyed in commencement speeches, such as this one given by Tory Birch. Some are conveyed through childhood experiences, such as selling lemonade.
Some are conveyed at professional conferences, such as the Women Leading the Way Symposium I just attended in New Jersey, at the Raritan Valley Community College campus. Distinguished, disciplined, determined, and diverse women from all walks of life and professions, came together. They came together to learn, collaborate, troubleshoot, and network. To discuss the power and pitfalls of women leadership in business. To converse about its purpose, and implications for mentorship, entrepreneurship, work/life balance, and social reform.
This was a different kind of conference, with a different kind of overall message. One that really resonated with me as an educator turned female social entrepreneur and advocate of women entrepreneurship. One that really hits home a week after President Obama spoke at Ground Zero, to dedicate the 9/11 museum.
I came to this event to meet "movers and shakers" and learn. I was inspired and moved by the different keynote addresses and talks the excellent speakers/panelists gave. I was especially impressed with the practical, timely, and well-rounded psychological advice I got on a variety of topics, some of which I want to share.
Women are good at using trauma/tragedy to grow from that... to find a mission larger than yourself to heal yourself and others. To build a model of corporate and social responsibility so change can really happen." -- Edie Lutnick, President and Co-Founder, The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, Author: An Unbroken Bond- The Untold Story of How the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald Families Faced the Tragedy of 9/11 and Beyond
"Women are good at forging authentic, disruptive, emotional connections with others, who will then advocate for you: your service/products, your values, and your attitude. So be yourself, and have an atttitude that you're here to make someone's day better!" -- Eileen Holmes, Senior Vice President, TD Bank
"Women don't brag enough about their accomplishments, and that's wrong! It's not bragging if it's true... these are the facts of your story; use it!" -- Tracye McDaniel, President & CEO Choose New Jersey
There were other takeaways I got from this terrific, insightful, and well organized symposium. Lessons that go beyond sharing which successful traits leaders, especially women leaders, need to hone.
In a nutshell, here's a succinct list of seven tips I gleaned and filtered through my NICE lens, my entrepreneurial philosophy re: best practices, for today's professional woman. For today's woman trying to multi-task and have it all, over the course of a 7 day week that feels shorter. For the busy woman at work, trying to create a legacy. For the aspiring woman entrepreneur, and the current female leader in historically male dominated industries such as banking and technology, trying to make a difference.
The Care and Feeding of Women Leadership Involves:
1. Acknowledging and then eradicating Impostor Syndrome from your vocabulary.
2. Finding the positive in things, as a way to both manage stress and increase your joy quotient.
3. Forgiving yourself for your foibles, failures, and going with your own "flow" and gut.
4. Becoming a mentor and mentee so that you are constantly learning and giving back.
5. Being a public collaborator so that you are truly problem solving, innovating, and orchestrating sustainable change.
6. Crafting and updating your Story by engaging in various life experiences to build up your Theory of Mind, your relationships with others, and your capacity for growth.
7. Understanding that technology is taking thought leadership to new heights and arenas, and that you have an "in". Digital citizenship is not just an agenda for curricula development for the 21st century student in school.
There is an art and science to women leadership. It involves teaching and supporting other women, and letting men in, to actively support and engage women leaders. It also requires a change in perspective about the strategic nature of having more women in leadership in all arenas, not just entrepreneurship.
• We are the lubricants of the shared economy, connecting others socially and globally
• We get to shift paradigms and problem solve every day, keeping us all feeling renewed and sharp
• We leverage our passion, giving us staying power, and keeping our collective childish wonder alive
• We combine EQ & IQ to think "outside the box" and propel ourselves and others to question, learning about ourselves/others, and promote change by forestalling inertia
Lead the way, I'll follow! I'm ready for a more wonderful world!