Last week the Marketing team attended the 2015 Women Inspiring Leadership Development (WILD) Summit, a conference commissioned by the Leeds School of Business Women’s Council that brings together women from various industries who share their experiences and inspire each other to lead. I cannot tell you how many inspirational and passionate women were at this conference! From students jump starting their careers to seasoned leaders whose actions have afforded younger women the opportunities we are so fortunate to hold today, every woman had encouraging advice for each person in the room.
The conference began with a moving speech from Barbara Mowry, CEO and founder of GoreCreek Advisors. Barbara discussed her experience as a business woman in a time where very few women were given the opportunity to take on managerial roles. She talked about how she was able to move up the corporate ladder and gain credibility as an innovator and leader in her industry. Some of the uplifting advice she had for the movers and shakers of tomorrow included, 1. Asking for what you want. She said you can’t assume that people will give you what you want because you work hard. You have to reach out and grab opportunity, which often means simply asking! 2. Pick your battles. Every one of us is faced with challenges every day and sometimes we’re put into situations that are unfair so naturally we want to stand up for ourselves. Barbara said it’s important to decide when the right times are to stand up for yourself, as short-term gains can sometimes overshadow the bigger picture.
After Barbara’s speech we split up into breakout sessions and had the chance to attend more intimate discussions pertaining to specific topics. I attended a session titled, Leveraging Masculine and Feminine Strengths. In this session panelists Dr. Rich Grenhart and Caroline Turner discussed the differences and strengths of masculine and feminine forms of communication and the importance in leveraging both styles in order to achieve organizational goals. Rich and Caroline said that while it’s necessary to be aware of how one personally executes masculine and feminine characteristics, it’s just as important to recognize how we may unconsciously judge others based on another person’s favored form of communication.
The event closed with speakers, Carla Scannielo, Susan Bleekman, and Cindy Carrillo. Each woman was at a different point in her career but their struggles and achievements were applicable to many situations. Carla talked about how she applied what she had learned as the captain of her soccer team to the world of finance in order to build a team oriented culture and inspire her co-workers as a leader. Susan discussed the challenges she faced when she made a career move, while simultaneously balancing her health, moving her family across the country and taking care of her children all at the same time. Cindy talked about a time when she brought a new member into her company who wasn’t a good fit for the team. She told us how issues began to surface in the company when the new member began to lead. Cindy said she had blockers on that blinded her from seeing just how destructive the problems were to the operations of the company and the happiness of her employees. In the end, Cindy was able to turn the company around by taking off her blinders and motivating herself to be the leader she knew she was all along.
I feel so very fortunate to have been able to attend the 2015 WILD Summit. It’s moments like those experienced at the summit that remind us we’re not alone in our struggles for professional success and personal happiness. I think this conference left every woman feeling energized, engaged and ready to take on the world! If you have the chance, attend the WILD Summit next year. I promise you won’t be disappointed.