Part of the IYF Guest Bloggers series.Cross-posted from “Career Wisdom,” the blog of Caroline Dowd-Higgins.
It was the brainchild of my friend and mentor, Deborah Collins Stephens and it took 3 years from our first Starbucks meeting to produce the first ever Midwest Invent Your Future Conference for Women on June 19, 2012 in Indianapolis. Mounting an all-day professional conference for women was a herculean task that kept a steering committee of 20, a myriad of volunteers, and one amazing woman and her team at Invent Your Future Enterprises busy for 36 months.
That superwoman is Ruth Stergiou, CEO and Co-Founder of Invent Your Future Enterprises who led the charge to launch a nationally recognized women’s program in the Midwest that has been going strong for 7+ years in California. They say “If you build it they will come…” and they did. Women from Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Canada, and several other states gathered for this first-time event and are eagerly awaiting news about the 2013 Midwest conference!
With acclaimed national speakers including Charlotte Beers, Betsy Myers, Staci Lyons, and Mary LoVerde, to name only a few – the event was jam packed with inspiration, motivation, and practical action steps to help women move forward with career and life goals.
The morning started with thought provoking facts that illustrated the need for more women in leadership roles in the workforce at large. For example, Goldman Sachs reported that if we close the gender gap and have more women in leadership positions, America will increase the GDP by 13%. Women control 85% of consumer spending and play a huge role in our economy.
When women prosper, communities prosper and the day was filled with opportunities to access women leaders and find role models for inspiration. With the rising tide of successful women – all boats rise and that’s a positive paradigm shift.
Betsy Myers, former Director of the White House Office for Women during the Clinton Administration and COO for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign started us off with powerful insight about how women can lead. Her book Take the Lead is a must read for women ready to take charge of their lives and careers.
My favorite take-aways from Betsy include her directive to take control of your own life. “Leadership starts from within and women must define what success looks like for them so others don’t dictate your happiness.” according to Betsy. She talked about being in the game and using the heightened emotional intelligence women have to lead successfully using their intuitive collaborative style, active listening, and ability to bring people together.
The event was a game changer for me and the 200+ women who attended. Betsy left us with a sage comment: “You can never let anyone make you feel you are not as special as you are.” This set the tone for the most essential conference theme – empowerment. We all have the power we need inside but we need to give ourselves permission to use it. I’ll be chronicling some other savory moments from the conference in additional blogs.
One thing I know for sure is that amazing things happen when women come together in community. The first annual Midwest Invent Your Future Conference left us all hungry for more and inspired us to carve out an authentic path that honors our values and allows us each to define success on our own terms. To learn more about Invent Your Future and the new virtual listening lounge check out: www.inventyourfuture.com