Woman Up Conference 2018 – Recap

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“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise” -Bosa Sebele

As a consummate story teller, where exaggeration is my norm versus my exception, I wondered as I scanned the Woman Up crowd what narrative was being told here. Stereotype alert: I’m Italian so of course story telling is in my DNA. Why would these women of every represented generation take a day out of there busy, over committed lives to attend a function that most (60%) are faintly aware of? They hadn’t experienced our inauguration with Kim Pegula or our half-day leadership conference with Mary Wilson and Mary Owen, but still they came. Many were asked to leverage their unique talent in some way and again said yes with little questions asked. 

So, what exactly was the story behind this narrative? What messages could I derive from this continued experience? What secrets would unfold? What purpose would be fulfilled?

My inquiries led me to discover both individuals who were there to meet a person from their dream company, and others who were passionate about moving their career forward on their own terms. Everywhere from making a connection that proves to be lucrative to making the transition from employee to entrepreneur, those bold enough were fascinated to access their emotional intelligence and recognize the power of mindset.

Women aren’t standing still and the world is paying attention — or at least, that’s what we’d like to believe.

If you ask some of the world’s most successful people how they made it to where they are, most would mention having some kind of guidance from a mentor. Unfortunately, these days, the willingness to be a mentor to someone is often overshadowed by the reality of the work world. Woman not unlike men will slip through the cracks if they don’t have the resources or role models to advance.

To our mentors on call such as Sheri Sullivan of EY who provided striking data on women in the workplace, or our amazing panel of influencers including Jennifer J. Parker, Kathy Egan, Nancy M. Yassa, Ashley Stachura and Jennifer Zeitler, we thank you. Let’s not forget our army of incredible roundtable and breakout speakers such as Sara L. Vescio, Jackie Klos, Erikson Neilans, PhD, Carlette Bradley and more who on a personal level mentored our attendees with remarkable topics. There is a clear need for this forum and we’re honored to be on the forefront of providing these types of community services. Click here to see a complete list of all our 2018 speakers.

I’m proud to say the data supports that on that day a little over two weeks ago, we had several area women come together under one roof to provide mentorship to the attendees and one another, expanding on the creation of a strong professional network and connecting to unique resources. With so many relevant topics on today’s organizational climate and mentors from all fields available to create awareness and discuss, it was no wonder that our attendees left with new tools to grow in their own space. Awareness was a common ground I overheard throughout the day and was a large part of the most popular breakout session from attendee feedback, Emotional Intelligence for Impact.

We understand it is not easy to take the time to be aware of your emotions but the worst thing you can do is believe emotions don’t affect you. We found nearly 50% of people in our area believe emotions do not affect their judgement at work. Don’t be one of those statistics! Are women more emotional? No. Do emotions influence EVERYONE at an organization? Yes, and it’s important to understand and leverage those emotions for better collaboration and productivity.

I have a feeling that Tuesday, June 12th will be remembered as a catalyst for progress in an area known for its strong women leaders, and I’m so glad I was able to share it with so many willing participants that gave the event its life. The Woman Up 2018 Conference was a true testament to area women and their ability to unite for the progress of present and future female leaders. If this year’s group speaks to the future of work, then we’re in great hands. We’re already in planning mode so stay tuned for announcements on upcoming Woman Up events!

Joan Graci
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President and CEO

Joan Graci is an accomplished organizational consultant and executive coach with three decades of helping growing companies identify, retain, and develop top talent. Her time as President and Owner of APA Solutions, the premier brain-based human capital consulting firm of WNY, has been spent developing cutting edge, science-based solutions to the people pains of today.

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