On May 29th, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce hosted their largest crowd ever at the 6th annual Women’s Leadership Conference. The sold-out event brought together leaders from across the Triangle and beyond to network and learn from local and national experts. This year’s theme was Bold: Take the Lead and included topics ranging from Finding Your Purpose to Fearlessly Integrating Life and Work. Among the speakers were Paula Brown Stafford (President & COO, Novan, Inc.), Barbara Aguiar (Head of Communications, BASF), Cindy Parlow Cone (VP, U.S. Soccer), and Christy Colgan (Health & Wellness Manager, BCBS North America).
Bestselling Author Joanne Lipman delivered the keynote address on her book “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together.” Several of Greene’s women leaders were excited to spend their day at the event networking and learning more about women and diversity in the workplace. We asked them to share some key takeaways from the conference.
As with anything in life, bringing your whole, authentic self to work and into professional relationships proves beneficial. It is especially important in mentor/mentee relationships. Be open to sharing not only your wins, but your losses with each other. Communicate about goals, motivations, and values to get the most out of your time together. When progressing through your career, stay true to your values and make sure they align with the values of the organization with which you are working. In organizations, “elevate people as their authentic selves and understand their true personalities,” advises Willy Stewart of Stewart Inc.
You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take
Chances are, we all will be faced with risks throughout our career. As you decide how to move forward, verbalize the worst-case scenario. “Can I survive it? Well, yes. Most of the time, it’s not that bad,” said Barbara Aguiar on how she thinks through risks in her professional and personal life. Have the confidence in your abilities to take the bold risks that lead to your goals. Know that even failure is a chance to learn and develop. For those that may be more risk averse, take small steps. Stretch just a little beyond your comfort zone and look for incremental wins.
Advocate for Yourself
“We have to use our voices to shape how we want our lives to be,” said Sarah Quinlan of Carolantic Investment Fund. This can involve something as simple as using an “I” statement to highlight your individual contributions to a project, or something as challenging as setting boundaries between your work and personal life. Practice self-awareness to understand where your development opportunities are and ask for tangible, actionable feedback. Keep track of all you do during the year, so you don’t forget any major accomplishments or lessons learned. If this is difficult, start by building your network – your “wolfpack”, as Sophia Wajnert of Credit Suisse calls it. “Change starts with us. Find and promote your wolfpack,” she advises.
The day was full of great advice from bold female leaders and Greene Resources was proud to be a sponsor. We are at our best as a business and as a community when all employees are empowered and included. We cannot wait to see these tips put into practice by all those who attended!