Women Inspiring Leadership Development: The 2013 WILD Summit

Posted In: Mentors / Networking
Posted On: 2/4/2013

YOU have to be YOU. 

Senior businesswomen. College students. Bankers and lawyers and consultants. Oh, my! Four hundred women (and a smattering of brave men) came together on February 1st for the first annual WILD (Women Inspiring Leadership Development) Summit in Westminster, Colorado.  The event was oversold.  The energy was palpable. For the record, I was never much of a networker for most of my career.  I just tried to keep my head down and do a good job and hope someone would notice.  Like a lot of women. What a friggin’ mistake! Why go it alone if you don’t need to go it alone?  Why learn all the hard mistakes the hard way?  Why not take advantage of the collective experiences of accomplished women who have been there and done that? It was the perfect Jane Knows’ Petri dish.  Women helping women with professional development through panel discussions, table talks and two amazing guest speakers.

Find your own path.  Shelly Lazarus, the charismatic leader of Ogilvy & Mather, wowed the audience with her funny, self-deprecating stories about her rise in corporate America, starting at the time of Mad Men.  I hung on every word, but there was one thing really resonated with me more than anything else:  find your own path.  I believe this is so important because YOU have to be YOU.  Not the you that your family wants you to be.  Not the you that doesn’t feel right.  But the YOU that is happy in her own skin and defines success in a way that works for YOU.

Redefine “the top” and do it without regret.  Wendy Booker became an accomplished athlete after being diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis.  Now in her late 50’s, she has run a bunch of marathons (she made me feel like an underachiever in the nicest possible way) and climbed six of the seven highest peaks in the world.  Her “top” was to climb all seven and after two unsuccessful tries at Mt. Everest, she knew she could never do it.  She felt she had failed and was depressed and sat on the couch watching Oprah and eating bon-bons for months.  And then it struck her:  be the first woman with MS to go to the top of the world, the North Pole!  That would be her new top!  And she did it and the South Pole and much more! And so it is in your business career.  Set a goal and work hard to get it.  But if it appears to be out of your reach, then redefine the top to be something you can achieve.  Achievement breeds confidence.

Achievement breeds confidence.

Confidence breeds success.

 Confidence breeds success. Lovely. Women helping women.  When I was younger, I would never had thought to attend a seminar that had networking at its heart!  I would have wondered what I had to offer.  But now I know, if you are experienced, you can help those that follow you.  If you are junior, you can energize the rest of us with your raw enthusiasm! Plus, there are usually free drinks.