Category Archives: Speaker Articles
By Nicole Story, Vice President of Creative, Poo~Pourri Seven years ago, I was living in my parents’ garage. With an advertising degree from the University of Texas and no job prospects, I was the quintessential definition of a millennial who graduated at the height of the recession. But this wasn’t the first time I’d faced a setback in my young life, and I had developed a mantra to help me … [ more ]
When you’re busy and under pressure, you might speak tersely, forget to smile and skip other niceties when interacting with your team. You think it’s obvious that you’re just trying to get things done, but your direct reports probably feel differently. “Most rude bosses don’t know how they’re coming across because they don’t intend to treat their employees poorly,” says Christine Porath, a professor of management at Georgetown University and … [ more ]
If you wish your life had more meaning, you probably think you’d need to go on an Eat-Pray-Love-esque quest to find it. And who has time for that? But the idea that meaning can be found only on ashrams or mountaintops is a cultural myth, says Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.“There are sources of meaning all around us,” she explains. “They … [ more ]
Technovation offers girls, age 10 – 18, the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year we invite girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenge them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by our curriculum. Technovation takes students … [ more ]
What do you get when you take 15 years of working as a user experience designer for companies such as Google and Yahoo and combine them with keen powers of people-watching and a razor-sharp wit? Answer: Sarah Cooper’s book 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying and her blog TheCooperReview. Of course, it’s those years of toiling away in corporate America that provide … [ more ]
Happiness is largely a choice. That may sound like magical thinking or like what no-guff grandparents meant when they said to buck up, but it’s actually the finding of a field of scientific study called positive psychology. “Many people think they can’t be happy right now because of their biochemistry or their job or life situation, but research has shown that we are not just our genes and environment,” says … [ more ]
When Carla Harris first went to Harvard 30-some years ago, she had two beliefs that she ended up adjusting. The first was that Harris, now a vice chairman and managing director at Morgan Stanley, would be a lawyer. The second: that only her professors would have things to teach her. “I actually learned as much from my classmates, who were from all over the country and the world,” she says. … [ more ]
Lucky for women in tech and new media, Rachel Sklar is not known for being reticent. Once, she even publicly confronted Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of “Vanity Fair,” about publishing an article that claimed that women aren’t funny. “I wasn’t as articulate as I would have wanted, but I said my piece and stood my ground,” says Sklar, co-founder of non-profit Change the Ratio and membership organization Theli.st (which both seek … [ more ]
Even mindless first jobs can prove to be invaluable experiences. How else would some of us know how to carry six plates at a time or fold sweaters so neatly? On a more serious note, starter stints can teach useful lessons about people and the nature of work as well as our chosen fields. Check out what initiated some of our 2016 speakers into the world of gainful employment—and what … [ more ]
After decades at the helm of the luxury lifestyle brand she founded and years at the head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Diane von Furstenberg is used to leading. To her, it’s simply “having clarity and tracing a path.” Even so, she says that she’s not perfect at it. “My problem is that I find the good in everything and everyone, and I am an enabler—not great … [ more ]
Thirty years in the entertainment business, starting as a receptionist at a talent agency and ending last year as the chairman of the entertainment division at CBS, Nina Tassler is known for having great instincts and making spot-on decisions. After all, it was on her watch that CBS returned to being America’s most-watched network (for 12 out of the 13 years she was in charge). Tassler is also the TV executive … [ more ]
Before Linda Cliatt-Wayman was the principal of Strawberry Mansion High School, she was the assistant superintendent overseeing all 52 public high schools in Philadelphia. In other words, to take the helm of Strawberry Mansion High, she demoted herself. What’s more, she took the step down to work at a school that had the most-challenging-to-teach teenagers (three schools were being merged into one), in an impoverished and gang-ridden neighborhood.
As you would expect of a popular blogger formerly known as MizFit, Carla Birnberg does not do her tweeting lying on the couch. She doesn’t even do it sitting at a desk. “Unless I’m leading a Twitter chat, I’m either walking around my office, in a plank position or in a wall sit, using voice dictation,” says Birnberg, who recently rebranded herself using her real name. “It makes me a … [ more ]
What do you do when you realize that the corporate life just isn’t your jam? When you’re Jolie Sikes or her big sister Amie, co-founders with their mom of Junk Gypsy, you hit the road, hightailing it out of Houston and Austin, respectively—and keep driving for 15 years. Of course, they weren’t aimlessly roaming Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. They were scouring flea markets and roadsides for discarded treasures that they … [ more ]
During a summer of inordinate hot air (from the election cycle as well as the heat outside), Mindy Kaling’s down-to-earthiness is a welcome cool breeze. When asked about being brave, one of the only women to create, produce, write and star in her own network series—and the only one to put her name in the show’s title—is quick to contextualize her courage. “Have I been brave?” Kaling asks. “I’m not … [ more ]
Whether you’re taking on a new challenge, rebounding from a disappointment or just powering through your day, repeating a mantra can help. We asked Conference for Women speakers and staff for their favorite sayings. Read them and repeat!
Fifteen years ago, Trudy Bourgeois resigned from her vice president job managing a $3 billion business unit—and walked away from a healthy six-figure salary, country club memberships, first class plane tickets to everywhere for her husband and herself and much, much more. “When I told my mom about my decision, she started to cry,” Bourgeois recalls. “She asked if she needed to get the sisters together to pray. I was … [ more ]
If you’ve never had a bad boss, you must have spent your career…self-employed! Unfortunately, managers who are incompetent or otherwise awful are a fact of working life. Indeed, a whopping 568 of you responded to our call for bad boss stories and the lessons you learned from the experience. Read these cringe-worthy tales—and commiserate.
Do less and achieve more. It may sound like a dream rather than a plan for summer, but it’s actually the MO of many highly accomplished people year-round. “Successful people don’t bother with work that isn’t high value or growth oriented,” says Laura Vanderkam, a time-management expert and the author of I Know How She Does It and 168 Hours. “They prioritize, so that what matters most gets done, and … [ more ]
In Hollywood, true grit isn’t only the name of a John Wayne movie. It’s also a job requirement. So when Annabelle Gurwitch auditioned to play a mother in a commercial and ended up being cast as a crone in the Middle Ages, she took it in stride.