So, I'm still on cloud nine after an incredible weekend of learning, inspiration and empowerment in New York City. I returned home Saturday night from the WIE Symposium. WIE standing for: Women Inspiration and Enterprise. If women, business and inspiration are not FULLY up my alley, I don't what is.
Here was just a TASTE of the lineup.
Here were the talks for day one.
And the talks for day two.
I want to get right to sharing life lessons from women playing at the top of their game. The conversation was intelligent, stimulating and inspiring. Truly. I have come back ready to up my game.
But before I get to the lessons, I will first share the weekend in picture.
The WIE Red Carpet
Meeting Gloria Feldt, a trailblazer for women. She was a guest blogger on WomenOnTheFence.com so it was thrilling to finally meet her.
One of the highlights of my weekend -- hanging with Katie Couric. I was telling her an old sentimental story and she said to me, "Erica, you're all farklempt." Ha!
Finally meeting a long distance friend for the first time, the amazing Lee Woodruff, author and journalist, and wife of Bob Woodruff.
I love Amanda de Cadenet, so it was great to see her moderating a panel.
One of my favorite Jazz musicians in the world, Esperanza Spalding, talking about winning her first Grammy, and all the hard work it takes to get to that "overnight success" moment, which we know is never the case.
Apparently, Katie liked meeting me too. ;) Tee hee.
Brooke Shields -- surprisingly one of my favorites talks. Just as beautiful and smart on the inside.
Talking about embracing her own strengths, instead of trying to emulate others.
A REAL, beautiful and empowered woman. Not a stick figure.
Spiritual Junkie, Gabby Bernstein
Yay!!! Meeting Sara, our WomenOnTheFence winner of the WIE Symposium ticket!
Afternoon snacks for the ladies of WIE Symposium.
And finally, here was the conversation, dialogue, and lessons:
We still want moms having babies and staying home. We still haven't fully embraced mothers and welcomed them equally in the boardroom and the workforce. Especially when it comes to paid maternity leave in the U.S. Most Americans feel government should push for 12 weeks paid mat leave. Because the U.S. doesn't have paid maternity leave, they are losing women to the workforce daily.
Women make up half workplace and purchase 85 percent of consumer products / consumer spending.This means women are a powerful bunch. The next step is to make public policy changes, and it's up to us. WE need to make the changes. Men are still making more money.
How to make a change for women: 1) Make a change by being a sister. 2) Then have the courage to talk to the people who have the power to make the change -- this is done by growing self esteem. 3) Put those two together with a plan. We need people on a national scale proposing the highest gold seal policies.
Women have embraced their authentic selves -- we should see vulnerability not necessarily as a weakness, but as a strength. I have honestly been saying this for years, so it was thrilling to actually hear someone say it. However, women still want to have it all -- we want children and be at the top of our corporate game. Because of this, we are overtaxed, overburdened and exhuasted.
Women will work 22 percent MORE than a man when asking for a pay raise for the SAME POSITION.
Women make 77 cents to the mens' $1 for the SAME JOB. We're not there yet.
How we'll make a change, and have women unafraid of losing their jobs if they have to leave work for their daughter's ballet recital: Tell your boss "I'm TAKING (not asking for) the afternoon off and I WILL MAKE UP THE WORK AFTER." We can't be afraid. (I loved this advice on how to spin it around. It's about getting the work done).
"Rejection can be a huger motivator." -Katie Couric. (I know this one first hand.)
It is very important for women to have champions -- not mentors, not friends, not bosses -- but champions.
Authenticity is the female advantage.
Emotional intelligence is a critical factor in success.
And my favorite answer when I asked Katie Couric if she thinks women can have it all: "I think having it all is bullshit. And I'd like us to stop talking about that. It's very judgmental."
And Lee Woodruff's answer to my same question: "I don't think we can have it all at the same time. We are just one person doing the best we can, at any given moment."
"I used to have a t-shirt that said 'oh my god I forgot to have children.' We need to Lean In, but sometimes we need to lean out." -- Katie Couric.
Amen! I leaned out, and you can read about that here.
Success is not what satisfies you. What satisfies you is working on what you really love to do and manifesting your dream. -Esperanza Spalding
Our thoughts inform our energy. Miracles are natural, and when they're not occurring, something has gone wrong. -Gabby Bernstein
On entrepreneurship success: "The most important thing, is that you need to be clear about your mission and purpose, and what distinguishes you from the rest. That's your advantage, your edge."
"It takes a lot of energy to be inauthentic. It's so much easier to just be yourself. I looked at my strengths and started to embrace them instead of trying to possess other people's strengths and trying to emulate them." -Brooke Shields
"There's a special place in hell for a woman who does not help another woman" - quote from Madeleine Albright, said by Sharon Bush and Lauren Bush.
Out of discomfort, comes greatness.
My favorite: "We must ask our 10-year-old daughters to THINK BIGGER, because it teaches resilience, hope, perseverance and courage."
"If you are a mean girl, trust me, you will burn in hell." -85Broads.com (she said laughing)
"Being self-deprecating is important to me, I laugh before people laugh at me. We need to embrace our imperfections, especially for our daughters' sake. Shine bright like my fivehead!" (making fun of her high forehead) - Tyra Banks
"The modeling world needs a celebrity plus-size white woman to progress. I'm just being honest here. We need to see more Beyonce's and Kim Kardashian's showing that curves are beautiful." - Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks was actually one of my favorite talks. In fact, she has an investment arm called Fierce Capital, investing in women founders and entrepreneurs. Nicely done, Tyra.
After a beautiful whirlwind weekend in New York City, I returned home and celebrated my son's 10th birthday. I am grateful to have a career that fulfills me, and a family that fulfills me even more.
Happy 10th birthday, my angel. Ten years ago, you came unexpectedly early. Your daddy was nervous when mommy's water broke, and said "You've still got a month left!" You were a beautiful surprise and you never cease to amaze us with your kind soul, your generosity of spirit and your wisdom beyond your ten years. We are so proud of the little young man you've become. You make my heart smile.
Have a blessed day. I'd love to know if any of the dialogue above spoke to you.