5 Favorites from Womensphere Global Summit 2014

A bit of time has passed since I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 5th Annual Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit 2014 in NYC. It’s never too late to share reflections and inspiration, so I’d like to revisit five favorites from Womensphere.

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  1. Lead by being different.

Men and women are different as leaders. Whether the presenters were discussing a new model of leadership, online media presence, or transforming pain to power-the consensus was clear: It is our differences that make us powerful. Define your own voice and the way it’s being heard. YK Hong, Multi-media visual artist & fashion designer, reminded us that “We are the architect of our own brand.” In my work with emerging leaders, I’m applying my learnings from the Summit and teaching youth to effectively utilize social media. This means building their networks, making connections, and sharing their values with the world. Technology has broken down barriers to communication and has empowered young people to “DIY” and become experts in anything! I ask my high school and college students: What does your profile say about you? How does your Linked In profile appear to employers? What messages do your tweets send to the world?

2. Numbers matter. As numbers change, policies will change. Diversify your friends, staff, life!

Multiple presenters urged women to consider running for office. Victoria Budson, Executive Director of the Women & Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government shared that more women in executive positions will impact women’s issues, specifically women suffering for leaving workforce to have children. On the subject of diversifying your life, Diane Brady, Senior Editor of Bloomberg Business Week, suggested that people should be forced to travel abroad, and she quotes “Comfort the conflicted. conflict the uncomfortable.”

3. Passion and purpose are more important than balance. Most women don’t have a choice.

As we continue with the age old work/life balance debate, it’s important to be reminded of the big picture. Between Yasmine Ergas, Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights Director at Columbia University, sharing statistics on women ironing children’s chests due to gender inequity and Saran Kaba Jones’, CEO & Founder of FACE Africa, data about death due to lack of access to clean water, we remember to be grateful that our hardships are rarely impacting our basic human needs. Deborah Jackson, CEO & Founder of Plum Alley, echoed this sentiment by urging us to gain perspective on the bad things that happen and ask ourselves: Will this really matter?

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4. Be your own best advocate.

Pat Mitchell, CEO of Paley Center for Media, walked us through a salary negotiation. While we hope gender expectations evolve in the future, women need to be mindful of how their assertiveness may be perceived in the workplace. We must mitigate the backlash by asking in a certain way that is relational and within the expectations of how women are expected to behave. By including comments like, “I am so pleased to join your team…” this will ensure you are more likely to be heard and not put people off. Diane Brady, providing a journalists perspective on leadership, expressed the need for more women to bring their ideas to the table. We must put ourselves out there and stop being so hard on ourselves. Women think they will get leadership roles based on merit, but we need to be better at asking for opportunities.

5. Be sharing and giving with your network.

This was another thread that united all of the presenters  at the Summit. Whether discussing how to leverage social media to connect and engage with leaders in your field or emphasizing the importance of mentorship, and establishing partnerships: technology has transformed and expanded what’s possible for our relationships. As someone who loves connecting with new people and discovering exciting professional opportunities, I now make sure to always ask myself how can I add value to [So and So’s] professional endeavors. Since the Summit, I  have been sharing dozens of job opportunities with my networks. I know how much I appreciated people who did this while I was in transition/seeking new opportunities.

There was a lot to love about this Summit. From the efficient table rotations to the thoughtful panels and career exploration opportunities.  One of my favorite parts of this Summit was experiencing women’s leadership from so many viewpoints. Further collaboration between the various industries represented at the Summit is essential for progress to be made on all global and domestic issues. We’ve got a lot to learn from each other, and I’m hoping to see more folks from the healthcare industry represented next year. Womensphere embodies the movement at large in how it was inclusive and committed to developing the skills of emerging leaders.

Jocelyn Schur is a entrepreneur, business owner at Schur Consultations, and soon to be Smith School of Social Work student.  She can be reached at SchurConsultations@gmail.com or http://www.JocelynSchur.com. She looks forward to your comments and  feedback!

What is an informational interview and why should you care?

Since graduating from college in 2011, I have conducted dozens of informational interviews around the country. Career development websites might trick you into thinking this is just a tool for your “job search,” but I would encourage you to get comfortable asking people about their career choices and jobs wherever you are in your life. Some of my favorite conversations have taken place in lines at coffee shops, on trains, volunteering, and over holiday meals with family friends.

Recently, I read a book called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and decided to share key takeaways below:

“Have you ever sat down and thought seriously about what you truly love? What you’re good at? What you want to accomplish in life? What are the obstacles that are stopping you? Most people don’t. They accept what they should be doing, rather than take the time to figure out what they want to be doing.”

I subscribe to his “karma-tinged” vision of how things work no matter how naive it may sound! Almost everyone has had to reach out for help to get a job interview, internship, or advice at some point.

“It’s a constant process of giving and receiving-of asking for and offering help. By putting people in contact with one another, by giving your time and expertise and sharing them freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone.”

• It will give you an opportunity to gather first-hand information (research) about career fields you are considering

• It provides the opportunity for you to expand your professional contacts

• You may receive honest advice about a profession or industry that you will never read in a book

• You can obtain valuable advice about entering and advancing in a field, as well as ideas for locating contacts or job leads within the profession

For great steps & tips check out Yale’s instructions on how to go about your informational interviews.

http://ucs.yalecollege.yale.edu/sites/default/files/InformationalInterviews.pdf

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6 Way to Get in the Door To Your Favorite Organization Or Company

6 Way to Get in the Door To Your Favorite Organization Or Company

We always hear this “simple” advice: Just Get Your Foot in the Door. WHAT does that even mean?! Read my list explaining how.

Time to Net-Workit: 8 Secret to Finding a Mentor and Learning to Net-workit

Sponsor, mentor, teacher, guru, whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is Nobody Gets Anywhere Without Help from Someone. Remember, at some point every person has asked for advice or help finding an internship/job.