Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reportback: "Trailblazers: Charting a Course for the Future!"

You know how some days you feel like you've lived 3 days within the span of one because of the amount you'd learned, the people you'd met, and the things you'd done? This past Friday and Saturday felt like 6 days in 2, in a very good way. The 15th annual Leaders of Today and Tomorrow (LOTT) Women's Leadership Conference took place at the University of St. Thomas Law School in downtown Minneapolis and was rich with insights, inspiration, and a good amount of fun! If you couldn't be there, read below for some select tweets from the #LOTT2010 hashtag to get a glimpse into why these 2 days were 3x more than most.

No better way to kick off a conference to inspire young women leaders than with our Friday morning keynote speaker, Pam Wheelock:
  • "You will frequently not know when you make a difference in a person's life, but you have an opportunity to do so everyday."

  • "Leadership is not about the person, it's about the action."

  • Understand your values, because it takes less courage when you know you're acting in a way that aligns with your beliefs.

  • Successes come and go. Mistakes help you learn. But when you act in ways that don't align with your values, that's what haunts you.
Barbara Gorski, PhD shared her research in "Taking Charge of Your Time: Finding Work-Life Balance:"
  • The myth is that we love working. And we do, in the beginning. Alcoholics love beer, scotch, alcohol. In the beginning.

  • Work addicts exhibit the characteristics of overeating, bulimia, and over-workers. We're all so creative under pressure at 3am.

  • Work addiction is only one that is praised. We get awards for it - employee of the month. People brag about it, we encourage it.

  • Do you get an adrenaline rush from thinking about all the work you can do? Were you trained to "look busy" or be given something to do?
Talk about trailblazers! The elected officials in the "Taking Matters into Our Own Hands: Women Leading in Public Office" answered the question, "Do women lead differently?"
  • Panel included Rep. Laura Brod, Eveleth Councilor Liz Kuoppala, St. Paul Councilor Kathy Tingelstad, Rep. Tara Mack, Sen. Torres-Rey

  • Sen. Torres-Rey explained that state legislative process dictates that men and women participating in the system act similarly.

  • St. Paul Councilwoman Tingelstad was only woman elected in 1998. In 2010, she's only woman again. But this time, she's President.

  • Women legislators care less about credit than men. We don't care who gets acknowledged for cleaning house so long as it's clean!
In the midst of this recession, take a few tips from the "Resume and Interview Strategies: Successful Job Searching" session:
  • Buy answer time during an interview by drinking water or repeating question back.

  • One trick of the trade according to panelists - wear a watch because interviewers are checking for it as sign of time management.

  • Use the STAR method for behavioral-based interview and resume. Situation | Task | Action | Results to deliver the information that the interviewer needs.

  • Students in particular, take interviewing on as assignment to ready for workforce. Write out answers, your stories, and practice.
Thinking about graduate school? Here are a few things to keep in mind from the "Life Long Learning: Is Graduate School for You?" session with representatives from Capella University, General Mills Human Resources, and the University of Minnesota.
  • Master's programs usually more similar in coursework to undergrad, though levels of work and time ratcheted up. Also time-limited.

  • PhD programs are more research, writing, and critical-thinking. You have to be extremely self-directed and manage the time.

  • In a Master's program, you working with existing theories to direct your study. In a PhD program, you're creating new theories.

  • Main point is that whatever program(s) you choose, it still in the end is about what you want to do with your career.

  • Due to recession, many companies are pulling back from offering tuition remission as part of employee benefit packages.

  • However, a good number of (generally) larger companies provide education assistance. Best time to negotiate is when offer is in hand.
This year's conference was an amazing success - to get in on the fun next year, visit the LOTT website for Program Director, Allie Moen's contact information and additional details on opportunities for involvement. Finally, thanks again to our fabulous photographer, Benitez!


  1. Thanks for the recap! It was good to read what was said in other sessions. I always wish I could be at all of them at once!

  2. Very well said, it was a honor to be part of this event.

    BRM Photo "Capturing your special moments..."
    aka Benitez
    New images updated from event:
    Facebook Fan Page: BRM Photo
    Twitter: @brmphoto

  3. I really liked when Laura Brod said, "We (women) take the win," meaning that men win their victory and then try to push for more.

  4. Um...why wear a watch when you carry an iphone? I don't want to be judged by outdated norms.

  5. @Leslie Glad the recap was helpful! We really lucked out on how insightful all the speakers and panelists were. We just needed more live-tweeters . . . maybe we'll enlist you next year?

    @BRMPhoto Thanks again for helping us capture the memories, Benitez. I know it must have been difficult for you - taking in all that inspiring knowledge and having to hang out with a bunch of fabulous young women for two days straight;-)

    @Anonymous Agreed. Being satisfied with enough is a critical lesson to learn in a culture that teaches that more is always better. P.S. I'm with you on the watch issue, though it seems to be in line with the dressing up in a suit and rehearsing answers in order to "judge a book by its cover" mentality of interviews.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. @Diane

    I was Inspired to become a workaholic again, since I know being fabulous Photographer isn't enough since women can do any mans job. It's hard work being the only guy in the room. I am a gentlemen & it's always a honor to know wise mature ladies to support. ;-)


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