I recently attended and presented at the Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Leadership Summit in NYC after being invited by a friend. It was an energizing and inspiring experience, more impactful than any conference I had been to in a while. I am going to share three things that particularly made it a moving experience.
- More than 50% of the speakers were women of color and they came from diverse backgrounds. Speakers ranged from big names like Hillary Clinton and Arlan Hamilton to Alicia Garza, a Founder of BIack Lives Matter. Tech executives, engineers, artists, journalists and other organizational leaders also took the stage. I had never attended a conference that was so representative of other professions, races and cultures; my experience was enhanced because of it. Speaker diversity is embedded in the Lesbians Who Tech mission. Specifically, their goal is to showcase diverse speakers with 50% of speakers being women of color; and 25% African-American. That’s how you do diversity and inclusion and the conference was remarkable because of it. Next time you are in a space with homogenous speakers, question why and acknowledge that your learning will be limited because of it.
- There was a good balance of fun and formality. The entire conference was comprised of TED style talks and panels. There also was an outdoor career fair that provided an opportunity for informal interaction. We even had a food truck lunch. All conferences can use more of this!
- We can never get enough leadership training, especially when the content is evidenced-based. I ended the conference with a talk called “Oh Sh*t: Leading When You Have No Idea What’s Going On.” My talk was structured around three hacks that come in handy in those Oh Sh*t moments (understanding neuroscience, gaining self-awareness and creating and defining your go-to plays). Considering the fact that an estimated 85% of employees still receive little or no formal leadership or management training before becoming a manager, the audience particularly welcomed learning about evidenced-based leadership approaches*. As a leadership coach, I also weaved in a few nuggets so the audience could understand how transformative coaching can be in achieving your business, career and leadership goals.
Lesbians Who Tech has heightened my conference expectations forever. If you are a woman and are looking for a good conference, check out one of the summits. The conference is open to allies, you do not have to be LGBTQ+ to attend. Also, if you would like to learn more about my Oh Sh*t talk or how you can transform your leadership or business approach, let’s connect!
*Source: Ken Blanchard Companies