Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Women in Philanthropy and Leadership Conference hosted by Coastal Carolina University. I've been to several Women in Politics conferences, but this was my first true Leadership conference. Let's be honest, initially, I only went to the conference because I badly needed a break from the office. The day was long (commuting from Charleston to Myrtle Beach and back in day, makes for a long day, any day). I took away so much more than I thought from this conference. I would not classify myself as a feminist, or one who is really loud about female issues, but I found myself really relating to each and every speaker. In my head, I was screaming, "yes, that is so me". Here are a few key take aways I took from this conference.
1. Never say "no" to an opportunity. Jan Fields, the former US President for all McDonalds, was the first speaker. She brought up this amazing point. I was over the moon, excited to hear a McDonalds exec speak. (If you know me, you know my very, very, unhealthy relationship with chicken nuggets, and McDonalds). Jan was remarkable. Hearing how she worked her way up from the fry cook to a President was awesome. Her sense of humor and sarcastic attitude made it even better. Too often, I get too scared, or too nervous to do something, so I find it easier to say no, then to do it. There are so many opportunities that I sometimes kick myself for not taking part in, whether its a trip with friends, or a job that I saw on a job board that I felt I was under-qualified for. Under qualification brings me to point two.
2. Men are risk takers, women are not. At one point during the conference (I believe it was on the lunch time panel) someone brought up the point that women often settle with their careers. Whether it's not asking for a raise and not knowing our worth (I am very guilty of this!), or not asking for a promotion or interviewing for a job because we feel we are unqualified. Women often don't take risks, whereas men do just that.
3. Women tend to work office-hours and feel guilty if they are not at work during working hours. Men will show up at 10 am and say "Yes! I am here" and feel their day has been productive. There is nothing wrong with having this sense of productivity. It's all about learning how to be more efficient with your time. I'll admit, many of these women are successful due to long hours in the office and lots of work, but learning how to be more efficient with your time at work, leads to better productivity, and, in turn, leads to a longer, better career.
4. It's all about the Pie Life. The last speaker was Samantha Ettus, author of the Pie Life. What is the Pie Life? It is that messy pie that makes up your life. It's that work/life balance thingy that the we all strive for. I don't have kids, so I don't struggle with some of the same struggles that many other women struggle with; however, I do have this work/life balance issue. Learning how to balance, work, my stringent health and wellness sector, my husband, my four-legged kid, my house, it's overwhelming. I've learned to try and balance, but still struggle when any minor thing comes up and interrupts my weekly agenda. Many days I get up at 5 am and go straight to my Crossfit gym, come home, shower (have no time to dry my hair), dash to work, and sometimes not leaving work until well after 6 or 7. I try to keep this in check, but it's hard when there are events after work that I desperately want to attend to, but know that I have to be in bed or have chores to do around the house.
Overall, I took a lot from this conference. One, never show up to an interview with wet hair (thanks, Jan, I'll be sure to dry it before an interview). Two, approach life for what it is, life. Things are going to get in the way. It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay to have a pie that is messy. Mine sure is. I'm learning to embrace the mess. Embrace the times with my husband that we ditch laundry on a Sunday and instead get out the house and go on a walk downtown. Embrace the mess. The mess sustains me. No one ever said a pie doesn't taste as good just because it's messy. Life isn't an episode of Top Chef.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.