Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Personal Connections at Professional Conferences

It's funny that Kekla wrote a bit about social networking yesterday, because right now I'm at a conference all about social media. I've spent this weekend at WITI's 20th Anniversary Summit, where women from all walks of life have come together to learn more about creating the life we want for ourselves, learning how to really listen to each other and ourselves, and, yes, how to use social media for our companies and our own personal branding and entrepreneurship.

The conference isn't even over yet, but I've already learned a lot. But what has really struck me is just how much we can get out of a conference geared at women. If you remember, a few months ago I went to the Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) conference, and in a few days, I'll be heading to Indianapolis for this year's NOW conference. All of these conferences are really very different when you take a look at the workshop offerings and the women who attend, but I'm finding that when you bring women together at these events, we really rise to the occasion.

I see women reach out to each other on common ground and start building relationships. I also see women who don't agree politically or stand apart on social issues, but are more than happy to give pivotal professional advice to one another. Women at a crossroads meet women flourishing in their careers and the connection they make is amazing.

I've also received advice from women at these conferences. They eagerly share with me where they think I should be heading in my career, what strengths they see in the short time we've interacted with each other, what job title I should fight for, how much my skills are worth, their tips for work/life balance. Sometimes their insight is right on, and sometimes their perceptions are a bit off, but I'm always more than happy to consider what they have to say. I appreciate their generosity and try to reciprocate as much as I can.

Have any of you had similar experiences? Can you remember any advice you've received or given?

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