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Sometimes You Just Have To Be In the Room

Yesterday I had the honor of attending. the second annual Recognizing Women in Government and Public Service Conference hosted by the Government Finance Officers Association for the Washington Metropolitan Area. The conference was attended by more than 200 women and featured keynotes and panel discussions.  Here are some of the notable takeaways that resonated with me from the conference:

  • Escalate your power by being vocal about who you are and what you do.
  • Bring younger women into various business sectors and teach them to be forceful, gracious, professional and thought leaders.
  • Sometimes the “glass ceiling” isn’t the problem, it’s the “sticky floor”. Look at who is in your network and review your access to resources and knowledge.
  • Don’t shy away from challenges. Challenges are opportunities for growth.
  • The only limitations you have are the limitations you put on yourself.
  • Don’t talk yourself out of an opportunity before you get started
  • Take full advantage of your teams’ skill set and encourage an atmosphere of learning
  • You have to go out and look for opportunity. It’s not going to knock on your door.

When asked how to obtain success, here’s what some of the panelists had to say:

  • Rise to the occasion and do the extra work. Ask for the extra work and then excel at it.
  • Be persistent.
  • Articulate and package your value proposition so that you aren’t put into a box.
  • Find a sponsor, someone who will speak up for you when you are not in the room.
  • Stop being overly critical of yourself. Look at your assets (your skills and what you do well.
  • Impact others. Embrace civic duty.  Impact your community.

Barbara Lang, President + CEO of Lang Strategies, LLC gave the morning keynote “Women and the Power of Negotiation” shared these thoughts:

  • Negotitation means navigating challenges, keeping a level head and achieving the goal.
  • Challenges and test shape who you are.
  • While you may think you are lucky to have a job, the company is lucky to have you.
  • Sometimes you need a reminder that you aren’t as good as you think you are. Learn from the experience.
  • Have a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal and tell others about your goals so that they can hold you accountable.
  • Sometimes it is tough to go against what is popular.
  • Find the win/win solution for everyone.  What is the happy medium.
  • Never settle and rid yourself of self-doubt.
  • Never be afraid to work outside of your comfort zone.

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the Smithosonian National Museum of African Art delivered the afternoon keynote and imparted these jewels of wisdom:

  • She who teaches must learn and she who learns must teach.
  • Mentorship is important for women. Mentors encourage you to go beyond what you think you are capable of.
  • If you are chosen as “a first” for a position, you have the responsibility to make sure you are not the last.
  • You must be willing to admit what you don’t know and be committed to learning.
  • When you stop learning, the best part of living is over.

Yes,  I know this post was longer than most, but when I hear good advice, I feel the need to share it with others. I hope you have

read something that inspires and motivates you.

With love,

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P.S. Here’s the list of panelists…pretty impressive group 🙂

Melinda M. Bolling, Director for the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Marva Jo Camp, Attorney, Marva Jo Camp & Associates

Marcia Griffin,  Founder and President of HomeFree-USA

Karen Hawkins,  CEO, Department of Finance for Montgomery County, MD

Lily Qi, Assistant Chief of Administrative Officer for Economic and Workforce Development, Montgomery County

Ana Recio Harvey, Director,  Department of Small and Local Business Development, District of Columbia Government

Lavonn Reedy Thomas, Community Affairs Manager, Prince George’s County, MD

Carla A.  Reid,  General Manager,  Chief Executive Officer, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Tonia Wellons,   Head of Global Partnerships, Peace Corps

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