Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Alliance’s International Conference. The organization was founded by women at Xerox in order to share ideas and support one another’s professional growth. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by like minded professionals in all stages in their career.
From the most seasoned CEO’s to those just getting started, there was a humbling wealth of knowledge. Here is a list the best takeaways for the weekend.
1. “When angry you’ll make the best speech you’re going to regret.” – Ambrose Pierce
This advice from the 1800’s writer set the tone for an amazing talk about negotiation by Dr. Joshua Weiss. He moved on to encourage us to take a step back from conversations with high stress and think deeply before we strike out in anger.
2. “Compromise is not synonymous with negotiation.” – Dr. Joshua Weiss
Another incredible piece of advice from the co-founder of the Global Negotiation Initiative at Harvard University. Negotiation should be centered around finding the solution that provides the most benefit for everyone. Sometimes that means you walk away instead of compromise.
3. “If you take the next job and you aren’t uncomfortable, then you took the wrong job.” –Darren Cassidy
Cassidy is the President of the U.S. Channels Group for Xerox. During the Manbassador Panel, he encouraged the audience to embrace the unknown and push ourselves to grow.
4. “Your feet may not grip the floor but you have to keep running.” –Nathalie Pousin
As the Chief Financial Officer of Atos in Benelux, she steered the company through the 2008 recession. Though she never truly felt in control, she knew she had to keep going, and challenged us to think similarly when we are dealing with a crisis.
5. “Even the right decision is wrong if it is made too late” –Leslie Varon
As another powerhouse woman in the financial world, Varon kept Xerox alive during the recession and became one of the most influential employees in the company’s history. Her emphasis on timing is everything makes for a stronger chance for opportunities.
6. “If you physically relate to someone, on a subconscious level they will trust you.” –Jack Hirsh
This Xerox employee turned hypnotist made a career out of a skill he used to help his daughter overcome bed-wetting. His best advice was to align yourself to the person in the way you sit and in your mannerisms and they will trust you more without thinking about it.
7. “Give yourself permission to be a full expressed woman.” –Nane Cheung
A staunch supporter of integrative nutrition and personalized lifestyle medicine, Cheung implored us to embrace our identity and be unapologetic in our existence.
8. “Do not let your job define you. It’s transitionary.” –Bala Sathyanarayan
He may be the Vice President of Human Resources at Xerox, but he advocates for empowering individuals in all aspects of life rather than just in their careers.
9. “Avoid the silence or violence style of negotiation.” –Lois Ritarossi
Ritarossi sits as the Vice President at Gimble & Associates bolstered our confidence in handling crucial conversations and being critical of those who scare their team from providing valuable feedback.
10. “What’s the worst that could happen if you take a risk? You fail, but failure always teaches you something.” –Carla Harris
Last but certainly not least, Harris is Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. She is an unapologetically bold woman with a personality to match. Her inspirational speech challenged me to think about my attitudes about success and failure.
I walk away from this conference re-energized about my career search and hopeful of what is to come!