Reflections From the Massachusetts Conference For Women

On Thursday December 4th, I was fortunate enough to have won a seat at the Mass Conference for Women at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Along with 10,000 other women, I had the privilege of spending the day listening to incredible speakers, both in terms of their  speaking abilities and also the wonderful content they delivered. After the conference, when I was reflecting on the day and reviewing some of the notes I took, three themes appeared from what I was writing down: Reflection, Action, and Motivation.  I share some of those thoughts with you.

Reflection

  •  “Vision: beautifully made clothing that didn’t cost a fortune.” – Tory Burch.
    “Mission: positive purpose – spread the power of optimism.” – John Jacobs. Both of these speakers talked about how they developed a quick, thoughtful vision or mission for their lives and companies. You are a company. What is your vision? Your mission for your career? You don’t’ have to tell anyone this; you can keep it for yourself to motivate you and remind you of what you have set out to accomplish.
  • “Think mutually beneficial” – Lindsay Pollack. Lindsay, a guru of understanding the millennial generation in the workplace, reminded us not to build empty, hallow connections. Too much emphasis is placed on the impersonal nature of “networking” where we acquire LinkedIn contacts and business cards vs. connecting. Instead of seeing new contacts or mentors as “how can then help me” think mutually beneficial – both “how can they help me” AND “how can I help them?”
  • Liz Henderson from EMC talked about how to work effectively in a global world. She said there were three things she looks for in her employees: 1. A can-do attitude, 2. Collaborators, and 3. Technical talent for the job.

Action

  • “Tell me something good that happened today.” – John Jacobs. This quote is something Jacob’s mom said to him and his siblings at the dinner table each night. She wanted to emphasis the importance of staying positive and being grateful. At the end of each day, when we are prone to complain and wine (oops Freudian slip…whine) about our hassles, focus on what good things happened. Fall asleep counting your blessings as they say.
  • “Pinpoint the issue” – Judy Smith. Judy is the inspiration behind Olivia Pope and TV’s “Scandal” so she knows a thing or two about getting out of a tough situation. Her advice, when finding yourself in a crisis or bad situation, is to think about how you got there. Pinpoint the issue. Then map out a fix and get to action. She also recommends to always tell the truth, no matter how difficult.

Motivation

  • “I didn’t start out as a designer” – Tory Burch. We put this immense pressure on ourselves to be successful, have “made it” and even know what we want to do with our lives by the age of 25. A designer with a line of clothing wasn’t on Tory’s mind at 25; she was working in other jobs. Is she less successful in life because her great successes didn’t come until late 30s/early 40s? I think not. The career journey is long, enjoy the trip, stop focusing on only the end.
  • It is about how you act in the face of a challenge that’s important – Tory Burch. When presented with a challenge, how do you respond? Energized? Terrified? It is outside our comfort zone where we really grow and development; embrace the challenges in life. It makes life more interesting.
  • “There is no one definition of leadership” – Anne Fudge. You need to find the leadership style that works for you and remember that just because you don’t have this or that skill or capabilities, doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader; it is merely an indication of something you can work on and develop.

Did you go to the conference? What did you learn or enjoy?

“Here’s to ambition!” – Anne Finucane