This past Saturday, on April 12th, I attended OWN IT, a women’s leadership summit coordinated by Georgetown University Women in Leadership (GUWIL). The completely student-run, all-day event promoted female leadership and highlighted the need to educate our generation of women leaders through panel discussions, breakout sessions and office hours. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, keep in mind that guest speakers included top women from media, policy, business and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Crazy impressive women like Maria Shriver, Norah O’Donnell, Alex Wagner, Carolyn Ryan, Mary Jordan, Dee Dee Myers, Kara Swisher, Judy Smith (the real Olivia Pope of Scandal), Neera Tanden, Megan Smith, Azure Antoinette and many more came to inspire, motivate and empower 400 attendees. Through interviews and discussions, various panels shared their professional experiences, spoke candidly about gender inequality in the workplace and offered their invaluable advice.
I was incredibly lucky to have attended this event and want to share the best pieces of advice that I garnered at the OWN IT Summit. After leaving the event, I felt more inspired than ever to declare and reach my goals. I hope you feel the same spirit of determination and empowerment after reading these gems!
- Be bold! Go for what you want and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. If you don’t try, you’ll never know or start a new journey. Move out of your comfort zone!
- Ask for what you want. Nobody is going to read your mind and give you that internship or raise unless you communicate your needs.
- Declare what you want and put it out there to get back positive energy and good vibes. If you want to be the CMO of your company, start an online service, become an editor, etc., say it aloud and let your support system know.
- Ignore the nay-sayers and haters. Everyone is going to have an opinion, whether good or bad, so don’t let the negativity cloud your vision.
- Don’t focus on strict plans for the future; instead make concrete goals and let your path form itself however it should. If you raise high expectations for each step along the way, you’ll inevitably be disappointed because life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect.
- Network, network, network! It never hurts to expand your Rolodex, regardless of the industry. Often times personal connections are the only way to get your foot in the door at a company.
- Find your mentor. It’s hard to enter an industry without familiarity or guidance, so mentors or “sponsors” are a great way to break in and feel comfortable.
- Help out other women! Madeleine Albright says, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help out other women.” We need to support one another in a world where women are highly underrepresented in high-level positions, make less money than men and are still fighting the stigma of professional women.