Case Studies and bedtime stories

The EMBABE Diaries

The best conference I’ve ever been to

on March 28, 2014


If you stumbled across my latest post (or looked at the banner just above…), you already know that I’m talking about the LBS Women in Business Conference. For once, a conference I can gush about (in case you were wondering, I still failed to do any networking, unless you count talking to my friends – and I could argue that we should count that, because building a network is about strong ties as well as weak ties, and I was having a strong ties day, but I’ll spare you the blah blah and just admit that the whole networking thing is still very much work in progress).

So what did we get, apart from a fabulous line-up of speakers? (all great, but Jo Malone, Darla Moore and Sharon White were just unbelievable – talk about exceeding expectations!) There was, of course, a lot of talk about juggling, about the “gender cliff” between ages 32 and 45, when so many of us get lost among the myriad competing requirements on our time and energy and end up falling behind in our careers, about mentors and sponsors and everything else you might expect in a conference about women and business. But also…

  • healthy differences in opinion, such as when one panel member suggested we should be completely up to date with sports news so we can be “one of the boys” and another member heartily disagreed (Can I get a “hurray” for that? Yes, I’ll keep to myself my opinion that it’s incredibly silly to get so excited about watching grown men chasing a ball, just please don’t make me pretend to care about the scores and who won which pointless trophy. There’s only so much a girl can do for her career.)
  • some hope for those who got married before “will support my career” made it to the Mr Right checklist: yes, most speakers said that choosing your life partner is one of the most important career choices you’ll make, but there was also the candid “it’s fine to marry a man who’s not supportive, as long as you’re successful enough to put that support in place yourself”.
  • the best every way of saying “don’t be afraid to change direction”, c/o Darla Moore: “When the horse is dead, dismount”. Am seriously considering getting a motivational poster with that quote…
  • Sharon White including “remember kindness and courtesy” among her top tips. Yes please!
  • the same ideas coming back over and over again, so often that they became a leitmotif of the conference: (1) do what you love, (2) don’t be afraid to ask for help, (3) take risks, (4) ask for what you want
  • selfies on stage!

Next Post – Tips Alert

The organisers asked each speaker to share some “top tips” with the audience. Now, I know that some people dislike the idea of “top tips” as at best a simplification and at worst a deformation of reality. If you’re one of those people, don’t read my next post unless you really like Snow Patrol (mysterious, I know!). If, like me, you enjoy some nuggets of wisdom, even simplified, with your morning coffee, check back next week for my selection (I was going to post them here, but it turns out my posts somehow end up longer than they should be, so you’ll just have to wait a bit)



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