2019 Topics

Theme: Center Stage: Standing Out & Speaking Up.

A term originally coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, intersectionality reminds us that our identities are not defined by a singular part of our background. While we are all connected as women, it is important to note that all aspects of our identity intersect. Race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class, education, experience, all help to mold our unique perspectives. It is imperative that we account for our varying identities and utlize them strategically to achieve equity for all women. How can we ensure we are fighting for every woman and how can we use our intersecting identities to support one another in various ways?

According to Pew Research, 42% of women have experienced gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace. We can assume this number to be even larger due to the prevalence of under reporting. Gender-based harassment can come in multiple forms ranging from being made to feel incompetent to sexual harassment. How can we identify and put an end to these types of harassment? How does it affect women personally and professionally? As a co-worker or superior, how can we ensure to stand up for the women around us?

Instead of pinning women against one another in the workplace, it is time to lift each other up. This becomes especially important as you enter more senior roles. Women leaders often see the success of another woman as their own failure. Why do we feel like there is only room for one woman at the table? What do you do when you have a female bully in the workplace? How can women continually support and raise each other up as both a co-worker and as a superior?

Coined in 2005 by Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam, the “Glass Cliff” refers to the phenomenon women often face after breaking through the “Glass Ceiling.” Their research showed women are more likely to be promoted to senior leadership roles during times of emergency or crisis, when the probability of failure is at its highest. In this topic we explore instances of the ‘Glass Cliff’ phenomenon, both on a large organizational scale and smaller departmental scale. How can we recognize and navigate these hurdles?

Newer research has found that there is one proven exception to the Glass Cliff phenomenon: organizations with a consistent history of female leaders. How does the visibility of women in leadership affect company culture and the bottom line?

We want to break barriers and become successful as they can both personally and professionally. But, does success look the same to everyone? While many assume all women are striving for the title of CEO, does that have to be your main aspiration? How can we support women who want to take a break on their trek up the corporate ladder? How do we support those that prefer to stop altogether on a mid-level rung? How does work/life balance play into your notion of success?

Most of the time we cannot reach our goals without some help. Unfortunately, many women, especially women of color, have found it difficult to gain assistance in the form of a mentor to continue to climb the corporate ladder to their desired position. Furthermore, once we as women have gained powerful positions it is our responsibility to be accessible as mentors to women and men to showcase women as leaders and continue to bring more women into that realm. How can women find the right mentors and continue to act as mentors as we enter more senior roles?

Women still on average earn $.80 cents for every $1.00 a man earns. The numbers for African American and Latina women are even worse at 62.5 percent and 54.4 percent respectively. A large part of this comes from the fact that men are more likely to ask for higher raises, more frequently than women. Unfortunately, women are often taught tostay quiet and be thankful for what is offered to them. How and when should women ask for a raise? What are some tactics we can use to remain comfortable and not appear ungrateful or “too assertive”?

One of the most common struggles that all individuals face is the concept of “work-life” balance. However, is there really a hard line between the time spent at home versus time spent at work? What are some ways we can use technology to ensure that we are doing a great job as a parent while being a leader and innovator in our organization and industry? How can we support those that choose to integrate both worlds? What are the pros and cons of being always connected? Is there a difference in your approach based on where your career is?

Despite outstanding accomplishments, huge promotions, and academic prowess, high achieving women often find themselves struggling with a nagging feeling that they will be ‘found out’ or unmasked as a fraud. Imposter syndrome is the internal suspicion that one’s success is merely a matter of luck, timing, charm, or accident. Those that suffer from this nagging voice often feel as though they have somehow managed to slip through the cracks undetected and that it is just a matter of time before their colleagues discover they don’t belong. Imposter syndrome affects us all at one point or another. It has historically held women back from growth in the work place. How do we identify the voice of imposters syndrome and how do you go about silencing it?

Building a network of allies who can help, advocate and promote you within an organization is critical to your advancement and overall career satisfaction. Your network should consist of both men and women. By engaging men as allies, we are creating better leaders, stronger businesses and more fulfilling careers. This topic will identify ways in which women can transform the men they work with from colleagues to allies.

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2018 Topics

Theme: Women Blazing Trails

When everyone is pulling at your strings, how do you keep from unraveling? Self-empowering techniques can help you “keep it all together” and navigate daily stressors and life challenges with greater ease and balance. Learn about using food as medicine, keeping the body in motion, quieting negative self-chatter, and setting personal goals to create a style of living for personal well-being.

Your money shouldn’t be sitting around doing nothing, and neither should you! Evaluate your financial health, and figure out where you want to be and how to get there. Set financial goals, discover how to make your money work for you, and learn how to put it all together to create a financial plan.

Successful leaders today take an intentional approach to drawing connections between cultural dexterity and conscious leadership. Explore and learn the critical role diversity and inclusion plays in how you lead and build relationships and trust with peers, colleagues, and those you manage.

Don’t let difficult conversations keep you awake at night. Learn a scripting technique to clearly communicate an issue and its impact, propose a solution, and inspire positive outcomes for a joint resolution. Explore techniques to diffuse anger in others and create safety in these conversations. You’ll improve teamwork and productivity by dealing appropriately with important issues and conflicts.

Certain fields (aerospace, professional sports, high-tech, the financial sector) remain dominated by men at the top—and often in the trenches too. Because senior leadership tends to be largely male, and these men perpetuate a stereotype of the masculine-identified qualities required to become leaders (not to mention promoting people who most closely resemble themselves), cracking the door open in these fields has continued to be tough. Learn the challenges women face in a male-dominated workplace and gain some of the strategies women find helpful as they try to stay afloat—and keep swimming.

Do you fear that you’re a Imposter? Do you question if you are worthy? Are you scared that you couldn’t possibly be qualified to fill the shoes required in your position? Sadly it’s a fear that strikes many of us – especially women. Self-doubt is crippling and presents one of the greatest barriers to becoming an authentic leader. Using real-life experiences as they climbed the ladder, this topic will help you reach beyond your comfort zone and explore strategies to eliminate feelings of inadequacy and achieve authenticity.

  • Why executive presence matters;
  • How to deal with and overcome fear, self-doubt and imposter syndrome;
  • The importance of building trust and credibility to accomplish more; and
  • How to find and use your most powerful and genuine voice.

How do you not just talk the talk of “emotional correctness” but try to walk it every day — treating others with the compassion you want them to have for you and others? This topic will shed insight on the internal and external strategies for combating the meanness everyone experiences on some scale every day. Useful for everyone from young folks struggling with the emotional gauntlet of social media to adults struggling with the emotional gauntlet that is their kids, this panelist will share spiritual and practical tools we can all use including:

  • How to distinguish hate from constructive criticism and how to respond to both;
  • Three social media jujitsu strategies for dealing with haters without being hateful yourself;
  • Ways to renew yourself and your faith in humanity, even on social media and
  • How to define- and stick to – your own public, moral code of conduct.

By engaging men in creating more equal workplaces, we’re creating better leaders, stronger businesses, more fulfilling lives for both women and men and showing that this is a business imperative required at all levels from all managers. This topic will identify ways in which women can form closer ties and partner with male counterparts to work together more effectively

Building a network of people who can help you, advocate for you, and promote you within the workplace is critical to your advancement and is as important as building your external networks. How do you care for this network in a strategic and thoughtful manner? Wherever you are coming from, whether it is a small organization or a large one, this topic will answer these questions and offer strategies to help you form and leverage relationships allowing you thrive in challenging situations like reorganizations, mergers or acquisitions.

Today’s fast-paced, team-based and global work environments call for strong and effective business relationships. Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies are at the heart of effective workplace relationships and productivity. They provide an integrated set of skills that support highly effective, fast-reacting and innovative organizations. Learn from this panelist as they share how you too can achieve greater personal awareness, connect with others, manage stress, engage in healthy conflict and collaboration, and be more optimistic and resilient by using your Emotional Intelligence.

As Millennials increasingly populate the job market, global workplaces are changing dramatically. It’s not just about how Millennials spend their time—attached to their cellphones, checking friends’ Instagram photos, and chatting about what they’ve seen on YouTube. It’s also about their mindset. Millennials tend to have specific expectations, attitudes, and behavioral styles that are different from those of Baby Boomers and Generation X. And these characteristics can pose challenges and opportunities for some of their direct reports. Workplace leaders need to understand what makes Millennials different and implement strategies to help them succeed.

Change starts at the top and the visibility of LGBTQ+ leaders matters. There is still a lack of openly LGBTQ+ people at the most senior levels in organizations due to persistent professional barriers. Creating and promoting targeted initiatives to support the career development of LGBTQ+ employees is essential in retaining the best talent, generating an inclusive workplace, and breaking stereotypes that keep the LGBTQ+ leaders from living their lives openly.

  • LGBTQ+ leaders often have difficulty gaining access to leadership positions. How do these challenges affect our notions of inclusion?
  • What can an organization do to ensure future generations have more power and representation?

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2017 Topics

Theme: Be Fearless, Influence, Innovate, and Inspire

The new rules of engagement demand that we leverage our influence across multiple spheres, including shareholders and employees, to build community around a shared vision. More so than ever, we need to create unconventional relationships and meaningful connections within and beyond our organizations to turn ideas into action. Why are women choosing to adapt the new rules of engagement? Who are the powerful women forging unconventional partnerships and driving change? How are these successful leaders scaling opportunities to ignite lasting change?

When women are empowered to lead, they make choices that change history! Why is it then that American women make on average 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns for equal work? As an attendee, you will hear concrete steps to address the pay equity issue, which includes learning to become a powerful and confident salary negotiator. By sharing today’s most successful negotiation strategies, you will learn how to monetize your strength and leverage your potential to create your own value – not only in your paychecks, but also in the position you hold.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Wikis, podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds… Social media has undeniably become ingrained in our personal and professional lives. But what exactly is “social media,” and how can we use it more successfully at work and at home? Learn how to creatively leverage social media to effect change across various industries, in your organization, and in your professional development.

Do the accepted management styles within your organization tend to favor certain men or women, or are they not broad enough to accommodate a variety of styles? Women who aspire to leadership positions often are unsure if they should adopt certain management styles or embrace their own. While embracing others’ leadership style leads to discomfort and feels limiting to an individual, not embracing an organization’s accepted style may lead to exclusion and isolation. How do successful leaders strike a balance between their personal leadership style and the leadership style of their organization? How important is authenticity to a having an efficient and successful leadership style? How does an authentic leadership style impact the pipeline and diversity within the organization?

College students change their majors an average of three times before they graduate. With the growing number of majors, from agroecology to homeland security, undergraduates have a difficult time limiting themselves to one field. They may ask themselves: which major reflects my true interests? Which major will help me land that dream job? While a lot of planning may be spent on finding the perfect match, many successful professionals end up in fields they had never anticipated in college. Hear from leading women who made the bold move of switching careers at different stages of their professional development. Why do women make the transition from their degree to the workforce? How do successful women adapt to the workforce and new career opportunities?

With one foot in the discussion on race and the other fighting for gender equality, how do minority women cope with the tension of living and working at the intersection of these two identities? Women hold less than 20 percent of leadership positions in the American workforce, and even less are held by women of color. This topic will discuss issues of identity with regard to gender and race, and will address the discourse of equality in the workplace. How can leadership emerge from such a unique women of color perspective? What kinds of challenges do women of color face in the workplace and in their professional development? How does an organization benefit from the inclusion of such leaders in decision-making roles and positions of power?

As you climb the corporate ladder it’s incredibly important to remember to throw down a rope. This is especially true for women leaders. Increasingly women recognize that the days of women fighting for the one available executive role are behind us. Rather, women helping women, is a responsibility not a choice. Why must women help other women succeed? What responsibility do we each have in making a difference for those who follow us? How can women leaders provide organizational and personal support?

The discussion of why women bully other women in the workplace has led to an understanding of two types of threats: competitive and collective. A competitive threat is the fear that a highly qualified female candidate might be more competent or accepted in the workplace, potentially displacing a former female. On the other hand, a collective threat is the fear that by accepting a woman with lower qualifications, this person could reinforce negative stereotypes of women in general. How do these types of fears manifest in the workplace? What lessons can we learn from others who have navigated the issue of bullying at work? How can women be more supportive to each other?

Whether you have stepped off the path you hoped to be on or are returning after a career or work hiatus, this session will look at what you can do to avoid or overcome a plateau, revive your trajectory, and find ways to follow your passion. What are some best practices for transitioning back into work? How can you maintain a record of professional development, despite being on “break?” How can you “catch up” to be competitive in your career of choice?

Power today is all about leveraging influence to engender change. As activists and change-agents, leaders are choosing to align their influence with key global issues, including humanitarian efforts. Learn how to say “no” to conventional practices and follow your own path to make an impact in organizations and the world. How are today’s game-changers tackling problems in unconventional ways in order to amplify the voices of millions around the world? What are these leaders saying “no” to? What kind of support is needed to be a trail-blazing leader?

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2016 Topics

You cannot afford to be apolitical at work if you aspire to advance in the professional sphere. In many jobs, when you reach a certain level of technical competence, politics makes a key difference in achieving success. In the workplace, politics is about positioning your ideas in a favorable light, knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.

Leadership does not happen without courage. To be an effective leader, you need to know your strengths, yet that is only part of the process. You also need a broad perspective on the behaviors needed to be an effective leader in order to avoid one-dimensional leadership styles. The inner dimensions of leadership include pioneering, energizing, affirming, resolving, and commanding.

Being in charge is different from being a contributor. New skills are needed to achieve results through others. Interpersonal issues and disagreements can jeopardize teams, departments, and projects. It is important to know how to lead a team, get the work done, deal with conflict, and solve problems.

According to Benjamin Franklin, “Opportunity often comes disguised in overalls covered in mud.” In today’s environment, successful careers are often developed by taking the road less travelled or by accepting projects or assignments that may not seem appealing. However, these assignments may provide unique opportunities to stand out amongst your peers and other leaders. Learn when and how to take risks to ensure you are positioned for the next big opportunity.

What does it mean for women to have a “voice” in meetings or within their organization? Many women consistently feel less effective in meetings than in other business situations. Some say their voices are ignored or overlooked while others point to an inability to find their way into conversations. How can women navigate perceptions around assertiveness in the workplace while owning their voice?

Everyone must be a proactive networker in today’s environment. It is important to note that the ability to hold conversations with others and collect business cards is not enough. Networking is not connecting. It takes a unique person to successfully connect with the right individuals at a particular meeting or event. Make the transition from a networker to a connector in order to create opportunities for yourself.

Highly successful women do not leave things to chance. They build networks, leverage their connections, and go after what they want. This frame of mind highlights the importance of self-branding, which is essential to climb the corporate ladder. Take charge of your personal brand and start thinking more creatively and strategically about yourself and your abilities.

Women who break through into senior-level leadership roles get there by delivering results. In “Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others,” John Maxwell lists a number of traits a person of influence should possess such as integrity, nurturing, faith, and understanding among others. Once you learn these simple, insightful ways to interact more positively with others, your personal and organizational success will go off the charts. Whether your desire is to build a business, climb the corporate ladder, or secure your place at the topicle, you can achieve it by raising your level of influence in the lives of others.

In “Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career,” Sylvia Ann Hewlett says that mentors may offer an open door and helpful guidance but, to win, you need a sponsor. In the corporate world, if women want to get ahead, they need to identify strategic sponsors. These are individuals with credibility willing to vouch for your talents, skills, and abilities while advocating for your advancement in the organization. Learn important tactics to identify and impress a potential sponsor who can be your advocate in the road to career success.

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