I love events where I come home feeling inspired, supported and completely exhausted. I love spending time with like-minded and unique women – Learning from each other, doing business, telling stories, and connecting on a level that is special. I love it when I leave with a fire in my belly, knowing that there is a purpose for what we all do. Coming home from PMA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference was that – and more.
WOMEN ARE WOMEN
Women are different than men (gasp). Their reactions to situations are sometimes different, emotions are different, they process things differently, the way they manage their home-life is different – because it is. Period. Done. Embrace it, accept it – and please do not stifle it.
Because of the differences and gender imbalance in the workplace, women tend to defend themselves to prove that we can be “just like men”. Guess what, women are not men. I would advocate that as women, we all need to stop trying to out men the men. Doing so does not make things better, add value to our companies, or make us happy.
I’ve done it – more than I care to admit for longer than I care to admit. I thought that if I follow the same path as these men who I respect, who are successful, and that I admire - if I’m interested in the same stuff as these men, talk the same talk as these men – I’ll have similar successes…as these men. But, I’m not a man. And – I shouldn’t have to apologize for it. (Right, Rachel Hollis!)
FACTS ARE FACTS
There is gender inequality in the workplace. That is a fact. But the question is, who is it up to, to fix it? I work with amazing men. However, they honestly don’t know what they don’t know about this issue. Women in the workplace is not even something they think about, at least, not yet. Many people (men and women) don’t realize that from early on, there are major opportunities that are not afforded to female counterparts, many situations where she is overlooked, and larger obstacles everywhere for her that are not there for men. We all collectively know this and for a long time, have basically accepted it. Men and women. This inequality has not been malicious by any means. In my experience, it’s all we knew, and it was normal. But now, it’s not. And that’s a good thing.
Why go to these women focused conferences? Why are there special “women in the industry” events and women-centric accolades? If we want an even playing field – why separate ourselves out? A few years ago, there was an absolute need for a safe space for these conversations. Now, these discussions are happening in board rooms all over. It’s shifting toward women wanting these conferences and peer groups for professional and personal development. These events are about receiving permission to discover what makes every individual valuable and how to cut through the garbage. We learn that we must no longer see that the only road to success is by following the paths of our male counterparts. It’s about reaching our specific goals by being our own authentic self – and there will be amazing and supportive men and women along for the ride to support and encourage you.
WORK LIKE YOU
I know now, that I don’t have to wait to be asked…or I don’t have to wait to be given an opportunity or authorization or a handout from someone else to succeed or make change. I can just go do it – with the right ammo (knowledge and support). This is what I want to show my daughter and my nieces and all the other girls who have big dreams - that it’s 100% up to them. They must do the work. But it’s 100% acceptable to be who they are, and you don’t have to work to “be like a man”.