Last Thursday I had the great opportunity to attend the 2014 Women’s Leadership Conference hosted by Exceptional Women in Publishing (EWIP). As a first-time attendee, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I was blown away. To have so many accomplished, inspiring women in one room was a bit overwhelming but also just what I needed. The sessions covered a range of topics from Women in Tech, Journalism, Social Media, Managing Transitions in your Career and many more. It was nice for me to get out of my nonprofit bubble and my blogging bubble and hear from women who are changing the game across many different fields. As I’ve mentioned, there were women from all different backgrounds at this conference, and depending on where you are with your career and the field your in, you would have taken away different meanings from the wisdom shared that day.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, but I’d like to share with you a few of my key takeaways from the day. There were hundreds of jewels I took form the day, but these are just a few that stood out. My takeaways, are of course, from my perspective as a nonprofit professional and personal publisher.
1. “You have to think about the lens you want on the story.” – S. Mitra Kalita, Ideas Editor @qz
In the context of the panel, they were really talking about share-ability and how you package a story in a way that engages a broader audience.
As a blogger, I kept thinking about the lens I put on my story. Lately I’ve really been struggling with my “lens” here on NML. Because I have a full-time professional gig, it’s hard for me to really open up and do more real writing around this space. But that’s why I created the Blog in the first place. That’s what scares me the most (which is how I know I should be doing more of it), so I’m constantly feeling like I’m not sharing as much as I would like.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about the lens for me, it’s a question of whether I’m really sharing the parts of my story that I want to share.
How are you sharing your story?
2. “Need to take time to get off email and get in a room with people and have face to face dialogue.”
-Una Fox, Vice President of Technology at The Walt Disney Company
Man. This is so true. Don’t get me wrong. I love email, but when any time there is conflict or misunderstanding I believe in walking away from all machines and looking someone in the eye. Somehow you can’t be as petty or as uncompromising when you’re actually looking at a real person. It just makes the silliness of disagreement all the more obvious. It’s good to keep reminding myself of this.
3. “Focus on what you really know while you’re learning different areas. If you’re not open and transparent about what you don’t know, you’re not going to move forward. It’s really smart to ask questions. Don’t be shy about what you don’t know.”
– Kristine Shine, President of the San Francisco Chronicle
This. I think this is probably the biggest missed opportunity for growth I think for so many of us. People are so eager to prove themselves that they don’t want to be open about what they don’t know. But we all move forward faster if we’re honest about what we need to learn.
4. “If you love what you do, you do it well, and you give 1,000%, then the rest will follow.”
-Michela O’Connor Abrams, President of Dwell Media
Keep doing what you love and putting all your heart into it. I think this is also a good way to gut check yourself to make sure you’re not going astray. Questions to ask myself:
1. Do you love what you do?
2. Are you doing it well? (If not, revisit Question 1)
3. Are you giving 1,000%?
5. “Every CEO, Author, politician has failed. It’s a matter of failture. Sometimes we announce it to the public, and it’s refreshing. What happens as a result of failure . . . is that something does work.”-Yumi Wilson, Manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn
We shouldn’t be afraid of failure. That’s how innovation and progress happens. This always seems so obvious until you’re weighing the risks of taking a chance.
6. “Virality means share-ability plus click-ability.”
– Victoria Fine, Managing Editor @Upworthy
I’m still thinking about this one and what it means to me. Mostly I think that it’s not just about creating quality original content, it’s really about how you package and share that content. To reach a broader audience, we have to think about how we’re sharing and packaging content.
7. “Someone’s attention is the most valuable thing they have.”
-Pamela Day, Researcher at BJ Fogg’s Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University
Yes. Our attention is precious. In context of the panel, Pamela was talking about thinking about this when we’re strategizing about social media and reminding us how precious it is for someone to give their attention. But it also just got me thinking most about my own attention. How I squander it mindlessly sometimes, how I waste time when I could be resting or reading or doing something more worthy of my time. My attention is the most value thing I have.
8. “Be aggressively non-normal.”
– @karaswisher, Co-CEO, Revere Digital, Co-Executive Editor of Re/code, and Co-Executive Producer of The Code Conference
Kara Swisher, winner of this year’s Exceptional Woman in Publishing award is just effing cool. Her acceptance speech blew me away. She said not everyone is special, but you can be non-normal. Forging your own path, taking the road less traveled, trusting your instincts (even if they don’t align with the status quo)–that’s the way we move the dial.
9. “I don’t want to be a female CEO. I want to be a great CEO.”
-Eileen Gittins, CEO of @blurbbooks
Man. This lady is a firecracker, and I hope someday I’m just like her. She was saying that she thought one of the reasons she had been so successful was because she didn’t think of herself as a woman trying to be____. She just did____. Let’s just do it.
10. “Are you somewhere because you’re happy, truly happy? or because you’re comfortable?”
-Cynthia Samuels, partner at The Cobblestone Team
There you have it. Just a few inspiring tidbits. I hope these resonate with you too!