If you’re someone like me, you find informational talks and conferences about women leadership exciting. I know, going to conferences can be a weird concept. Why would you want to network and put yourself out there with a group of strangers? It’s vulnerable. It’s scary. I know. I get it.
I remember the first time I went to a business networking event. I put on my best business suit – I was 21 – and I did a mini-pep talk in the car before I walked through the door. I remember feeling vulnerable, unsure and ridiculous. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m a natural introvert, so pushing myself through that door was an achievement. And once I found the power to do it once, twice – THREE TIMES – I finally had a structure and a routine that I could use to commit to attending networking events.
And my confidence grew.
Networking (or attending events) is one of the key parts of career advancement and the experts say women struggle with it. [Hey, I struggled with it!] Networking expands business opportunities and meaningful connections with role models and business leaders that make decisions. The informal relationships made with fellow humans provides new career advancement opportunities, ability to share ideas, to learn something new, or have that voice at the table. Fortune sums it up pretty well, “A central part of leadership is sharing experiences, meeting others, and learning from people inside and out of the office.” If it’s so important, then let’s do it.
I truly believe practice makes perfect. After that first event, I’ve attended countless other events, and I stood in front of these groups and gave presentations. It takes practice and confidence, which are two things in your grasp to build.
Despite our uncomfortableness with networking (or conferencing), it’s important to make connections, build networks and seek out mentors/sponsors. This type of activity will boost our chances of sitting at that influential seat at the table.
Any type of networking event can have a positive impact. It’s doesn’t have to be just women-related, small, big, or international. The point is to make meaningful connections – and to support other women in their career pursuits.
Here are multiple conferences that I’m looking forward to this year. I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend all of them, but I’m enthusiastic about the vibe of these great events.
Women Leadership Conferences
Do you see yourself attending one of these events? I’ll be honest. I’ve partly written this blog post to do the pre-research for myself, so that I can plan to attend. I look forward to connecting to other fantastic women who are working hard for equal career advancement. If I missed a great event, please share it in the comments.