“Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.”
Earlier in November, I received an invitation to the 12th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women. Although I had never attended before, a friend and neighbor who is a bright and ambitious woman, was once on a discussion panel at a previous year’s conference, therefore I knew all about the event and the potential it had to give me invaluable insight. As a result, I accepted quickly and without hesitation.
On Thursday December 8, 2016, I sat in the Boston Convention Center in awe, along with more than 10,000 other business and entrepreneurial minded women (and a few men) as we watch these accomplished, hardworking and confident women on stage talk about their challenges, successes, struggle to be accepted while fighting to maintain their authenticity. We listened to stories of sexual assault, self-doubt, sexism and racism they faced to overcome and get a seat at the table.
It was amazing to see women mentoring each other and supporting one another. Women who have achieved what the rest of us can only aspire to be for now, taking the time to equip us with the tools necessary to discover our power and wield it from any level of our organizations. Pearls of wisdom that have the potential change lives. The diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and industries was encouraging as it demonstrated that the paths to success are many. My toughest choice there was having to decide which break out panel session to skip while I attend another, as they all seemed to be competing for attendance, not with marketing gimmicks, but with the quality of presentation and the credentials of the speakers.
I know that in an uncertain world where, despite our strides, we continue to face discrimination, physical violence, high barriers to entry in leadership roles, it is easy to forget how truly amazing we can be. However, if you take the time to listen to the stories of the sisterhood, you will realize that there is a global village of trailblazing women who have already worked to lessen our own burden.