My Reflections from The Women in Leadership Conference
The eventful month of March is dedicated to women as it cheers the annual international women's Day that holds various events and conferences with the aim to celebrate women and highlight the issues that affect us in the workplace, family, home, communities, and politics, to raise awareness that would promote change in these avenues. I invested in the 2023 Women in Leadership Conference (TIWLC 2023), held in Dubai earlier this year.
Being in the company of over 400 women from more than 20 nations was euphoric, and more so I was enthused to learn about women in a new way. We are more similar than different, regardless of our socioeconomic background, religious affiliation, or academic and professional pedigree. I also had the opportunity to learn and network with leaders from various sectors, people I read about and hadn’t had the opportunity to meet in person. I got first-hand insight into their personal experience in the workplace, family, and governance. I left Dubai feeling enthusiastic about implementing my learnings to benefit from the much-anticipated change that would come to light by learning from these various experiences. However, as expected, it's June now, three months have gone by, and the energy seems to have left the room.
We are all back to the status quo, with no more headline news on women. Personally, been sinking back into business as usual, almost missing out on my takeaways from the conference.
I decided to get back to my notes, refresh myself, share some insights from the sessions, and do my tiny bit to keep the conversations going for a little longer, while I start to work on myself.
Here are my reflections below.
Reflections from Women in Leadership Conference (Part 1 – Women, Against All Odds)
1. Be self-aware. Learn to know who you are and what your core values are. What is your perception of yourself? What is others' perception of you? Auditing both will help you assess who you are.
2. Be true to yourself; One of the essential things that can set us up for a life of success is constantly reassessing ourselves because the goalpost will change from time to time. And we do this by continuous self-reflection and asking these fundamental questions.
Who am I?
What do I want?
Why do I want it?
What is currently in the way of what I want?
How do I address the gaps?
What are the trade-offs?
3. Identify your weaknesses, outsource them, play to your strengths, and be damned good at it.
4. For women to win sustainably, we must learn not to trade off our values while pursuing our dreams.
5. Build tribes, people who share common values, ambition, and drive, a group of people you can leverage each other's strengths to win collectively. When we come together, we can achieve great things. An HBR research found that women who attain executive positions with the highest levels of authority and pay, tend to have an inner circle of close female contacts, in addition to maintaining a central student alum network. Build meaningful networks with fellow women.
6. In the workplace, your vulnerabilities are for you alone, so anytime doubt and imposter syndrome or any other limiting belief crawls up, and you feel the urge to turn down an opportunity, a speaking engagement, don’t do it. Please push does limits and do it afraid. Stop second-guessing yourself and sharing your vulnerabilities outside your support systems.
7. Fear drives caution. Fear stimulates you to action. Use your fears to your advantage, not disadvantage.
8. Ideas are a seed resource, don't shelve them. Share them and execute them creatively. If you fail at it, you take the lessons; if you succeed, it pushes your limit.
9. Brag about your achievement! Okay, let me rephrase that. Project your achievements, in a way that sells you. Be vocal about them. Speak up in meetings, share your ideas openly, and take credit when necessary. Remember, they are worthy, and so are you.
10. Create a balance for yourself outside your family or career. Your friends, faith, and communities are also parts of your life that matter and would support your success and well-being.
11. Embrace change, opportunities usually don’t present themselves in our comfort zones, they look like a stretch, a step, or a massive leap, take them when they come, and whenever you missed one, remember opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming.
Let’s go win together!