Post-conference musings: OWN IT, LADIES!

Apr 23, 2015


Diane Ramsey

Diane Ramsey is the Co-Founder & EPIC Corporate Challenge Co-Chair of Iowa Women Lead Change. IWLC transitioned from a grassroots-driven once-a-year event to a statewide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to advance women’s leadership development and excellence.

The process of running a successful IWLC conference is both art and science. After the past two days, I would say that art and science melded beautifully in the form of the “Transforming Journeys” Eastern Iowa Conference.

When I returned home after 48 hours of learning and hearing some amazing information, I was able to reflect on the themes that many of our speakers touched upon. For me, their presentations and wisdom all coalesced around one very prescient theme: OWN IT, LADIES!

On Day 1, from Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, we learned to OWN our philanthropy. What we do and what we give can make significant impacts on people’s lives in our own backyards and halfway around the world.

From the fabulous Liz Wiseman, we learned that we must OWN our successes – and our failures. Being a ROOKIE is something we should all embrace and even return to in order for us to stay energized in our work and personal lives. OWN your ROOKIE SMARTS!

At our Networking Lunch we were reminded that we – and only WE – must OWN our personal connections. It’s the connections we make in work, life, and community that support and enable us to thrive!

In our afternoon sessions, Susan Colantuono and Linda Rottenberg urged us to OWN IT in different – albeit important – ways. Susan urged us to OWN OUR CAREER SUCCESS! The power to succeed is in your hands. Engage with your company. When you have an opportunity to take a position that's vital to your organization, take it. OWN IT, LADIES!

From Linda – one of my favorite take-aways from all of our IWLC Conferences – OWN YOUR CRAZY! If you're not called crazy when you're starting something new, you're probably not thinking big enough!

And from Dr. Tererai Trent – one of my all-time favorite human beings – we learned the importance of OWNING and CREATING our individual destinies, as she has illustrated so powerfully and beautifully!

The concept of OWNING IT is so powerful and resonant in our work, and the theme carried over into Day 2 of the conference.

The ebullient, brilliant, bold and superb Carla Harris opened Day 2 of the conference. She implored us to OWN our authenticity. “Be authentic. You never know what part of you will resonate with the person you are meeting,” she noted.

Gretchen Rubin, author of three books about habits and happiness, encouraged us to essentially understand and OWN ourselves. “The key to changing our habits is to know ourselves,” said Gretchen.

Our final keynote speaker of the two-day conference, Carly Fiorina, urged us to OWN our sense of purpose. “"People want to know that what they are doing has purpose. They go to work everyday to make a difference,” she said. “If we want our communities to be better places, we have to tap the potential of women - because women are half the world.”

In true IWLC fashion, each speaker was engaging and thought-provoking in her own way. I love walking the conference center hallway and hearing women attendees debate the ideas of one speaker versus another and offer their opinions of who their “favorite speaker” at the conference was. The fact that different people are drawn to different speakers and ideas solidifies in my mind that IWLC is reaching, educating and informing the hearts and minds of a truly heterogeneous population – women!

As I said at the conference, onward and upward for women and women's leadership!

And don’t forget to OWN IT, LADIES!