As Queen Bey sings, “Who run the world? Girls!”

We ended the month of April with a pretty special event. We came together with a few of our strategic partners, Aerotek, AGS, EASi, and TEKsystems and co-hosted our Women in Leadership Symposium. This event is all about creating a space for women and allies to come together, share lessons, get inspired and create new possibilities. After a very long 14+ months of the pandemic, this was a great time to step away from our daily tasks, get reenergized and simply connect with those around us to support one another and remind ourselves that while we’re always striving to grow and do better, we are still always enough.

Women in Leadership Logo-02 (002)

The theme of this year’s virtual event was StrongHER with sessions from 4 amazing speakers:

  • Stronger, Better in Mind, Body & Spirit with Michelle Webb
  • Taking Finances into Her Hands with Jim Mann and Cassie Mann
  • You’re Worth the Work by Kathy Clem

We asked a few of our climbers who attended about their biggest takeaways and here’s what they had to say:

Megan Anderson

There were so many great nuggets from the WIL Symposium! But the quote I can't get out of my head and has become a new mantra for me is, "What we THINK & FEEL, drives what we SAY & DO!" I've been able to apply this to work and with my kids. Such a great reminded of the control we have over ourselves, when we feel like we're losing control around us.

Whitney Barton

Two things really stuck with me from the event:

  1. Rather than focusing on your weaknesses professionally, focus on your strengths. Now this is within reason obviously! But as someone who has a habit of fixating on my weaknesses (oof), I have been thinking about this concept a lot since the event. The idea is that investing energy into the areas that you’re naturally good at is going to give you a better return on your time, and by finding ways to expand and spread your talents, you’re giving more to your organization than struggling through the things you’re not good at. There are other people who are naturally gifted in the areas you’re not, so when everyone plays to their strengths, we all are able to shine and not waste energy struggling in areas we’re not adding value, risking burnout, etc. It’s a big reframe personally and professionally and I’m still thinking about it.
  2. You are enough. This is one of those pieces of wisdom that has devolved to a bit of a cliché at this point, but may I just say, it’s facts. Right now it’s feeling like an important truth to consider, ponder and internalize. In a culture that’s oriented toward the bigger, better, next thing on the horizon, it’s important to take some moments to just remind yourself that regardless of performance, wealth, appearance, etc. we are enough simply as we are.

Lori Blakey

Keep challenging myself on how I'm using my energy and showing up as it relates to my core values. That's where it all starts!

Allie Clark

I thought it was awesome! I had the opportunity to go in place of my leader and it was a well-rounded learning experience for someone who looks up to powerful, strong, leading women. It was inspiring to hear the voices of the speakers and their recommendations. I really enjoyed Michelle Webb’s session—it was totally relatable which drew me in and made me want to be a part of the conversation! Would love to attend again if given the opportunity!

Rosemarie Fontela

From Jim Mann: Biggest mistake is using debt to fund your lifestyle. Wish someone told me this when I turned 18 and got my first credit card!

Kristin Frisbie

I loved a quote from our first speaker, Michelle Webb. She said something that I have been telling myself for years that I think is worth sharing with everyone. When you get frustrated with yourself or with others, a great reminder to get you through is, "I'm doing the best I can, and so are they!" Whether you feel you're not doing enough for your kids or you're frustrated with a horrible driver next to you, taking a deep breath and thinking about that quote can help.

Danielle Hein

Always have a development plan for yourself. This is different than the plan just to get to the next promotion, or next step, which are certainly important, but this should be a plan to be the person you want to be; developing yourself in and out of the office. Identify your values & strengths and look for opportunities to build your life and career in line with those. Too often we focus on improving our "weaknesses," but we need to really lean into our strengths and keep getting stronger. Identifying those areas and having a framework to do so is crucial to keep developing as a person and colleague. It will show you when something goes against your values and help to make decisions about your future path and what roles make the most sense and will provide fulfillment for you.

Piper Kelly

Recognition/awareness of the "inner critic." Now that I'm more aware of it, I can work to give myself some grace and extend it to others as well. We're all doing our best.

Kortney Overzet

Recognition/awareness of the "inner critic." Now that I'm more aware of it, I can work to give myself some grace and extend it to others as well. We're all doing our best.

Jen Pasquier

So many good lessons, reminders and moments of inspiration! First, the concept of the pause--when my inner critic (she can be pretty loud sometimes) is making me second guess myself or feel insecure about a situation: PAUSE. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, and in the moment of heightened emotions, don’t do anything. Being a fixer by nature, this is a tough one for me, but a good reminder.

Next, a quote from Kathy Clem, “Little hinges swing big doors.” It struck me when she said it and continues to inspire me. The little things we do to pour into ourselves are what help us become the women and leaders we’re meant to be. It also reminds me that I’m stronger than I think I am and my small, everyday actions have an impact on me and the people around me.

Events like this also serve as a reminder that many other women leaders share similar experiences and we, along with our allies, can continue to lift each other up, learn from one another and create spaces where we’re seen and valued for who we are. My heart still feels so fulfilled, even 2 weeks later.

Karen Philbrick

The content and speakers were so impactful; however, my biggest takeaways were the feelings that the day brought. There’s something so special about women and allies coming together to invest in the future of Women in Leadership. I left feeling inspired and hopeful for the future.

Lissa Quinlan

I was lucky enough to grow up with strong, independent women. They taught me to do things for myself, to make myself heard, and that my opinion matters. Although they were leaders (coaches, teachers, in the community), they were not necessarily leaders in their career. When it’s come to my career, I haven't had the best role models; then I came to PG. This event was amazing because SO MANY women in leadership at PG that I look up to were attending, and I was alongside them. This symposium was powerful, and it was incredible to have that many successful women in one place.

If I had to choose my biggest takeaway, it was something that Michelle Webb (from TekSystems) said. She told a story about how she wanted to be at her child's event at preschool, but she was a working mom and things were not going as planned. She was busy, rushed, and was picking up store-bought cupcakes that ultimately got ruined on the way there. Lo and behold, she got there and walked into a Pinterest-perfect classroom welcomed by stay-at-home moms who looked cool, calm, and connected. This led to many emotions: jealousy (that she couldn't be like them), then resentment (because she wished she could "just" stay at home), and then annoyed (that she was better than them). Ultimately, it was reflecting on this story that she realized she needed to stop: stop comparing, stop judging, stop hating. Just stop.

As a woman, I feel like all I’ve done my entire life is compare myself to others. Am I too skinny? Too fat? Too short? Smart enough, pretty enough? A good partner, a good daughter, a good sister, a good employee, a good friend? Do I talk too much? Do I ask too many questions? Am I wearing the right clothes? Do I look presentable? Am I awkward?
It always came down to: How can I do better?

Well, as I've gotten older, I've learned that like Michelle, I just need to stop. Why?

Because I am enough.

I think we often forget that. If this symposium left me with anything, it left me with the overwhelming feeling that I am enough. I feel extremely blessed to have been at this symposium and hear someone as powerful as Michelle be vulnerable and admit this moment of weakness. A moment where she felt like she wasn't enough. We all have those moments, though!

So, if you're reading this, remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Jasmine Shlekhar

I'm always striving to one up myself and it is exhausting. My biggest take away was a comment that was made, stating "Self-Development is also enhancing what you're good at.”

We're so glad to be surrounded by amazing and strong women! Here's to continuing to push for gender equality and equity, and uplifting women to be the amazing leaders they can become!
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