Being an Agent of Change: Lessons from a Women in Business Conference

Last week, I went to a Women in Business Conference. It had been awhile since I had been to a conference, so I took this opportunity to really focus on making myself better. My time is rather limited, between work, family and being on the board of a nonprofit.

I encourage my team all the time to enhance their skills. “Do a lunch and learn. Go to a class. Attend a conference. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends.” But me? What am I doing to follow my own words of wisdom? Not much, unfortunately. Until now.

The theme of the Women in Business Conference was “Agents of Change.” Change. Change is hard–in life…and in an organization. You must have influence (or know people who do). You must have support.

Change doesn’t have to be a bad word. Change makes us stronger. It makes our businesses stronger. We just need to know how to effectively manage it.

The keynote speaker for the event was Stephanie Pope, VP and CFO of Boeing Global Services. Her speech really hit home for me. “Celebrate your failures,” she said. “Every time I fail, I get closer to where I want to be.” Interesting enough, just before I went into the conference, I was talking with my colleague about how I am fine with failing 9 times out of 10, if I succeeded at least one time. Ms. Pope’s message reinforced that for me.

The conference brought together more than 400 women from the DFW area, including a panel discussion of women leaders from The Macallan, Corgan, Cinemark, Verizon Wireless and Toyota. These women were powerful and brought great insight, offering their own words of wisdom for managing change:

“The more you can be in control of the change, the more power you will have,” said Raquel Raies from The Macallan.

Michelle Miller from Verizon Wireless reminded us that “there is rarely a straight line to your goal.”

Overall, I give the event an A. I give myself an A+ for taking that first step to attend.

Do you have any recommendations on how to manage change? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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