Monday, 17 November 2014

What I learned at the Texas Conference for Women

For the third year in a row (all three years I've been in Texas!), I was lucky enough to go to the Texas Conference for Women. I was busy again this year, handling the Instgram feed for the Conference, so I didn't get a lot of time to stay in one place and listen to as many speakers as I might like -- but that doesn't mean I don't get to learn a lot. A whole lot.

Here are some of my take-away's from this year's conference:

From Soledad O'Brien's story about her first job at a TV station after graduating from Harvard: No job is beneath you if it helps you follow your dreams. She started out removing staples from bulletin boards at the station!

From Diana Nyad: Too old is something other people tell you that you are. Ignore them and go for it! (She swam from Cuba to Key West, Florida last year at age 64.)

From John Gray, author and relationship speaker: Men and women really are different on a chemical level. And it controls what stresses us out, what makes us feel good and what works for us on the job and at home. We need to accept that equal doesn't mean "the same." (This is a big challenge to many who have fought for identical treatment for men and women at work.)

From Tamara Mellon, former CEO at Jimmy Choo and founder of her own brand: It's okay to ask for help. People want to help. We women have a hard time asking for help from colleagues, other professionals, our role models. But we need to start. (I have a BIG problem with this!)

From Debbie Sterling, founder of Goldieblox: The solution isn't in getting boys and girls to think the same way. It's in seeing how they think, and creating toys/games/lessons that match their engagement style. (The not the same, but still equal theme was running strong at this year's conference.)

From Anita Perry, Texas First Lady: One idea, like this conference, can change thousands of lives. Start where you are. She did exactly that, and fifteen years later, we're still going strong!

From Sunni Brown: All of my doodling during classes and meetings and phone conferences wasn't a waste of time!  It was a key to creativity!  (LOVED this message the most! My notebooks and note pads are FILLED with doodles!)

From one of the vendors: There are still Tupperware parties! And they still sell this shape sorter I think most of us had as kids! (I love stumbling on this kind of stuff!)


That's a lot of learning for one day, especially when I think of all the sessions I didn't get to see. I will be watching the videos on YouTube when they go up, to catch what I missed and add more to what I watched.

I don't remember how I found the conference that first year, but I am blessed that I did. And I have been blessed every year since, with new ideas and new inspiration. At the end of the long day, I am grateful to collapse on the train heading home -- but I am so glad I went, too.

Next year if we're still in Texas, I'll be there again. Instagramming. Tweeting. And above all, learning.

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