A moment to reflect on #WEFTEC and #EmpoweringWomen2019

Empowering Women 2019

Last week was one of those weeks you want to replay over and over! Every year, we prepare for WEFTEC like we are preparing for a marathon.  We know it will be tough both mentally and physically.  There are so many people to see and technologies to learn about. There are service projects and networking events that leave you feeling energized and exhausted all at once.  I was so incredibly proud of my team.  Each person knew their role and executed it with excellence.  As we focus on improvement and innovation in our company daily, we know we could do better with more resources and better planning.  Having said that, we will continue for a few more days admiring a job well done before we move on to all the tasks that must be done… Y’all believe that right LOL… My team is already executing the follow ups!

We do have more to celebrate!!!  Not only did my team master #WEFTEC week, we also executed the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Awards Gala, successfully!  I have been to a lot of events over my 16 years in the industry, and I will say this one is my favorite!  Not because I got to see the vision I had come to fruition, though that was unbelievable, it was because I watch women’s lives change!

I watched a timid engineer transform into a speaker and even a dancer (before any champagne, I might add).  I watch women connecting with women they had never met; sharing some of their most intimate and challenging stories. The best thing about this was the energy!  It was not an energy of male-bashing or judgment.  It was a group of women actively working to find solutions and help their fellow women in industry succeed!

I am so incredibly grateful that God allowed me to be the one to put a team of empowered women together to #BeTheChange we want to see in the world! The verse that drove me all year was this…

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear or to be timid, but of Power, Love, and Self-discipline”.  

I hope it will also help motivate others to action! We must do the work… we are courageous, we are loving, and we can become our BEST SELF through self-care and education!

I am so thankful for all the women who shared their stories and expertise with our industry… I can’t wait to see everyone again in New Orleans on Oct 8, 2020!

Of course, after an event that touched so many, we have a lot of interest.  If you want to be involved in Empowering Women in Industry, please contact me sooner rather than later at charli@empoweringwomeninindustry.com

Invest in Yourself

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What comes to mind when you read Invest in Yourself?  Is it buying yourself that new outfit? Shopping at Whole Foods? Or being able to invest in your 401K?  Whatever came to mind, I want to challenge you to rethink what this means to you.

I was recently discussing how we often sign up for training events with a sincere intention to attend and improve at a specific subject / area of expertise. In some cases, for whatever reason, we don’t attend. I find myself asking, “What is it that makes us follow through with that commitment?” Does personal development need to be forced by our employers to make sure we put enough attention on it to actually do the task?  Or is it a matter of money?  Is the only way our minds can see value in a commitment if it is tied to money?  Coming from a background of sales, this is something I will continue to research.  In the meantime, allow me to call attention to the importance of personal development and investing in your skills.

Wikipedia defines Personal development as “activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. Personal development takes place over the course of a person’s entire life.[1] Not limited to self-help, the concept involves formal and informal activities for developing others in roles such as teacherguidecounselormanagerlife coach or mentor. When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations.

Let’s start with improving awareness and identity.  If we don’t spend time reflecting on our own abilities and how we can improve, we will be in a constant state of confusion.  Not understanding what direction to go or what strengths we possess to get us there.   Understanding who we are or who we would like to become is the first step in personal development.  Spend some time to understand your talents and goals.

Building Human Capital and Employability. This should have Human Resources rejoicing as well as demanding investment into personal development.   How can HR really show that they are building the human capital within their organizations?  I believe there is fear that if we help train our employees to be better at their jobs that they may acquire those skills then leave the organizations.  This fear has increased in recent years with millennials entering the workforce.  I too have struggled with the investment and the ‘unknown’ in an employee’s commitment, but there is no room for abandoning our responsibility to training and building our employees within our organizations.  If you treat your employee well, even if they leave, they will send connections and even sometimes sales back your way.

Invest In Yourself

Self-help… now I am a big fan.  I probably have more books in this area than any other, but this can only go so far.  We must network and grow by connecting with people who are better than us. Networking with role models and mentors who have already figured out much of what we are trying to accomplish.  Joining a network of peers in your industry is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. I say give to yourself, because you don’t have to wait for your boss to sign you up for these opportunities. If you understand the importance of this to your development as a person and an employee, you can easily make the case for this.

As I think about this for our own conference, Empowering Women in Industry,  I have never been more confident in the amount of value something like this will give to your life.  At $350 for a full day of learning skills, networking, and celebrating industry success with dinner and music, I will take back that overpriced purse or wine and take another look at really investing in myself.

So, if the research says we must tie dollars to our commitments to make sure they happen, that is all set up for our event – just know that this is not what is motivating our event. Our event is motivated by the desire to help you invest in yourself. You are worth investing in!!! When you grow, and we grow together, we can #BetheChange.

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” ―Denis Waitley

3 Ways Men Can Support Empowering Women in Industry

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As we continue to build a community of women in male-dominated industries and finalize plans for the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Gala, I can’t forget about the 79% of our audience that are men.  I want to assure you that shining the spotlight on women in industry will only increase value to you and your organizations.  It does not devalue men.  The end goal is a Diverse workforce.  However, to get there, we must build a more inviting space to be more inclusive; diversity only works when coupled with inclusivity. And inclusivity works both ways.

Just this week, as I planned my #IWD2019 event, I asked a few men to attend.  I got responses like “I don’t want to be in the minority” and “I would stick out like a sore thumb there.” This is the same feeling women have when they are the only woman in the room. It is their passion for this industry and professional goals that drive them forward and over the obstacles which sometimes unintentionally get anchored in front of them. Through my research and life experiences, I know there is a need for a “women supporting women” environment. In a male-dominated industry, this is harder to find.

On a positive note, I have found close to 400 women in my network (when I originally thought it was more like 20) who are actively seeking this supportive network.   What we focus on is what we see! My network ratio has always been 80/20 male.  We just experienced a 1% change because I focused on connecting with women… I am focused on building role models for our industry and our children.  And I need your help.  So, you might feel a little uncomfortable, but know that supporting this initiative is better in the long run. Many women who have a passion for building and problem solving feel uncomfortable and alone most days on the job, so let’s start showing our support for them.

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