Women’s Programs hosted a Leadership Conference: Women Empowering Women on Saturday and I was so happy that it wasn’t all about feminism, the gender pay gap, or misogyny. The conference was actually very similar to themes of Leadership Connect – diversity and inclusion, mental health, developing skills, and investing in yourself. I’m really happy that my presumptions were really wrong.
I think that the presence of diverse guests – graduate students, alumni, administrators, other genders – augmented the experience in accordance with a greater theme of positive thinking and self-confidence. Still, I think that attendance of undergraduate students was underwhelming and more efforts should be made to highly encourage the student body. Maybe it was because of the registration requirement, the date falling on Hallo-weekend, or the fact that Women’s Programs was running the event. I hope that the third annual Women’s Programs’ Leadership Conference is expanded, and maybe even co-hosted with the Student Government Association to target all undergraduate students. I would suggest that the event is also re-framed as a motivating call for individuals to better themselves regardless of the difficulties they endure from their environments.
I think that everyone at the event benefited greatly from the selected speakers, but also from hearing others share their unique stories and receiving advice from other attendees. It might sound crazing, but you can really grow as a person just from listening to other people’s hardships. Exercising vulnerability and feeling some empathy in a group setting opens your eyes. The Orientation Team bonded though similar expression during Show and Tell. Including outsiders – and especially not just having the usual suspects of Women’s Programs events and the student leader crowd – was a really great thing that I would not want to sacrifice for expansion of the event. It was just so refreshing to speak briefly with an alumnus of ten years sitting beside me, and the random graphics designer who replaced her during another segment. Hearing new perspectives reminded me that there’s a big world beyond Stevens.
I really think that many of the speakers’ tips were excellent, and even reminded me of my mother’s advice when it comes to positive thinking. My major takeaways were the tips on developing new ways of thinking that will help your self confidence, and prevent untrue, negative thoughts, and advice on the importance of who you allow in your support group. Although you can’t control who you have to interact with, or what they’ll say to you, you can decide whether or not it’s true and whether it merits a reaction.
Even if my suggestions do not come to fruition, I hope more people take it upon themselves to sign up and show up for the conference next year.