The tenth annual Women's Leadership Conference: Leading with your Authentic Self attracted nearly 400 professionals on April 25 to the Carlson School. Attendees to the sold-out event enjoyed an inspirational talk by Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano (vice president of programs for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation), took part in a variety of breakout sessions led by top business leaders, networked with fellow women professionals, and engaged in a dynamic panel discussion with Minneapolis Police Department Chief Janeé Harteau.
The next Women's Leadership Conference is scheduled for April 24, 2015.
Read on for some key takeaways from the conference.
Factor the importance of human connection
"Any leadership role necessitates empathy."
Dean, Carlson School of Management
Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Global Corporate Responsibility
Do your best work
"I didn't set out to be the Chief of Police, but when I look at myself today, I feel like I am where I should be. I believe in focusing on the job at hand: whatever it is you're doing, whatever role you have, become skilled at it. When you're going after a title or promotion, you fail to excel in your role and those better opportunities will never present themselves. But if you're really good at what you do, if you add value, you'll move up."
Chief of Police, Minneapolis Police Department
Resist negative self-talk
"The craft of authentic leadership requires discipline: we need to get ourselves out of the way and concentrate on the demands of the moment. Perfectionism and fear of failure are the biggest culprits of destructive inner discourse that prevents authentic leadership. If you can get yourself out of the way, you can create environments in which you work, play, and love."
-Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano
Vice President of Programs, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Enact effective listening to negotiate better outcomes
"Being a strategic negotiator is such an important skill. In a negotiation, information is power: the more information you have, the more powerful you will be in your negotiation. Those who ask the best questions are the best negotiators at the end of the day. So ask questions, then listen very carefully. A great place to start is to ask 'what's important to you?"
-Daniel M. Duty
Vice President of Global Affairs, Target Corp.
Broadcast your aspirations, ask for what you want
"You've got to speak up and tell people what you want. Tell your manager where you want to go and how they can help. Tell others outside your team about your aspirations and advocate for yourself. If you don't vocalize what you want, you're holding yourself back."
Executive Director, Land O' Lakes Foundation
Embrace a non-linear career path
"Career progression isn't always a direct line to the top. Women sometimes have to take some zig zags to move up, and you never know where it will finally lead you. I think those broadening experiences can advantage you going forward in ways you can't anticipate. You have to go for that and stretch yourself into those roles. When those opportunities come at you, you've got to take them, even if it's scary."
Vice President of Business to Business, Land O' Lakes
Optimize your time
"Be continually aware of how you are spending your time. Ruthlessly prioritize. Delegate. Do not multitask. Focus on one thing at a time and be intentionally efficient."
Business Stategist and Owner, Backpocket Strategy
What did attendees learn from the Women's Leadership Conference? Check out a recap of social media chatter.