10 Key Takeaways from The 2021 WomenWerk Conference
The 2021 WomenWerk Conference was our 7th annual conference celebrating Women's History Month! If you missed the exciting panels and networking during the live virtual conference in March 2021, here are 10 key takeaways to ensure your 2021 recovery is a success:
1. Remember your “why” in everything you do - Your reason for doing things can be a very grounding way to remain resilient and healthy. When you're having a bad day at work and going on your nth Zoom call, knowing your why will give you purpose, motivation, and comfort. Knowing the why behind our commitments to work, family, and community are what keeps us grounded during times of great adversity.
"Knowing who you are meant to serve and
being unapologetic about it is powerful."
-Lakisha Middleton, The Good Success Network
2. Success takes a network - Our 2021 WomenWerk Conference theme was "together we can." We all know that together, women of color are unstoppable. It takes a village to achieve success, and together we must help each other lift as we climb especially after a challenging 2021 So as we climb, recovery means we make sure to reach back and help others climb!
"Secure the bag and help someone else do the same"
-Sandra Garcia, Grow with Google
3. Resilience can be found in reflecting on your past wins and examples of excellence - We are living in a time of transformation and limitless opportunities. With many women pivoting careers, it is important that women be prepared to pivot and take on new roles with the confidence that excellence is transferable. Do not limit yourself to what you think may not be feasible due to insecurities. Your excellence transcends all challenges and you can work to reflect on your past success in order to build a way forward.
"Excellence is transferable"
-Bethany Coates, Breakline Education
4. Create self-appreciation and wellness days for yourself- Now and again, we have to take the time to take care of ourselves and refill our cup in order to give our best to work, our friends and family, and others. Jessica Santana, co-founder and CEO of America on Tech, takes self-appreciation days for self-care. She dedicates one day a week to herself with no email, phone calls, or work meetings in order to decompress and maintain a healthy balance with work and electronics. We have to ensure that we protect our boundaries and wellness to continue to shatter glass ceilings.
“I love to use the 'do not disturb feature on my phone for a day of peace
and quiet to center and self-reflect on my own self-appreciation.”
-Dailisha Rodriguez, CEO of HeyThere Beautiful
5. Give yourself permission to fail- Women of color are often not given the allowance to fail and grow scared of risk. However, every failure is an opportunity for a new beginning. Many mediocre people are doing precisely what you want to do. Grow in your discomfort and give yourself the permission to fail in pursuit of your dreams. Don't be complicit in your own oppression and miss opportunities to really reflect on your failure as an opportunity to learn and self-advocate.
“Black and brown girls are not allowed to fail and it is unfair. We all
need extra compassion during this stressful time in order to recover well.”
-Jessica Santana, Co-Founder and CEO America on Tech
6. Balance is overrated - women can do many things well in wellness. Breakline CEO Bethany Coates again offered some phenomenal tips on how to create balance with your calendar and in communication with your manager and team. She reminded us that we do not have to be superwomen and that expectation creates unhealthy habits. Women are often told that success is achieving work-life balance in which we successfully juggle careers, children, fitness, etc. The truth is that the balancing act can be exhausting. Ultimately, it's not always about how well we balance our lives but about creating a sustainable life over time.
“Create a sustainable life by managing up; it's not always about balance first.”
-Bethany Coates, Breakline Education
7. Networking - even in virtual times - is still very important- Although we are socially distancing and physically unable to meet together, the pandemic has made it easier for women to gather on a virtual platform and network. Take advantage of the networking opportunities offered in the virtual space, and don't be shy about connecting with others online. You can now network from the comfort of your own home in pajama pants, and that's okay!
“I have found networking to be easier in the last year of virtual connections
because everyone is less busy and location is not a barrier via Zoom.”
-Nekpen Osuan Wilson, WomenWerk Co-Founder and CEO
8. Explore what you're curious about - Your curiosities are a spark that could lead to new ideas and new ventures. Founders at the Conference shared what led them to launch their organization and help women advance professionally and financially. It is ok not to know exactly what direction you want your career to go, but by following what you are curious about and exploring what excites you, you may find your lifelong passion and your 'why.'
“I wanted to turn my negative experiences in the workplace into educational moments for others.
I was curious why women could network and collaborate so seamlessly together but were less engaged around men.”
-Claire Wasserman, Co-Founder Ladies Get Paid
9. Show yourself compassion like you show others- COVID-19 has been a time of great hardship for all, especially women. Women have lost 5.4 million jobs since the pandemic started. As we begin the road to recovery, we must show ourselves compassion and acknowledge that we have survived through difficult times. Whether it be showing gratitude for the many months we have spent at home with loved ones or simply admitting that we are all managing as best we can, compassion is a key ingredient to our recovery.
“My last year has been challenging professionally and personally. I have given
myself permission to compromise and look for progress over perfection.”
-Daniella Kahane, Executive Director of WIN Summit
10. You know winners because they brag about their wins -Women are notorious for downplaying their strengths. We often do not give ourselves credit for the amazing things that we do and the talents that we have. Take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments. It is important to share your wins so others know your strengths and see you as the winner you are.