We dare you to attend a Lady Project event and then try not to be a fan. The group is invaluable for networking, and everyone is genuinely open to sharing resources and lessons learned, which is pure gold for small biz owners & entrepreneurs.
We went to the annual summit again this year. Here are highlights from a few of our favorite speakers and workshops. Be sure to check out the link above for a full list of workshops, panels, keynotes and the rad ladies responsible for delivering the goods.
Improv Warm Up (Time is Precious)
Group activities with strangers make me queasy at best, but the ladies from Boston’s Fine Line Comedy pulled it off with character and ease. In 5 minutes they did two exercises aimed at getting our blood flowing & interacting with your neighbor. The interaction exercise demonstrated that any 2 things (in this case words) can be related, and working together to find a connection between two things is a great way to spark creativity & lose inhibition. I won’t be underestimating the power of 5 minutes again any time soon.
Shauna Causey sold Decide.com to eBay in late 2013, and she’s currently Vice President of Marketing for EveryMove. She’s also advised the White House for entrepreneurship and digital media initiatives.
Statistics currently show that women are less likely to take risks than men. Causey believes that changing those statistics is possible and well worth it, since risk taking adds depth and opportunity to life choices and paths. Her advice? Start with the small stuff, because taking small risks will increase the likelihood of taking better and greater risks going forward. So, that tiny voice urging you to do something? Ask it, ‘Why wouldn’t I?”
Making Sales Without Selling Your Soul – Pamela O’Hara
Pam’s our very own CEO! She co-founded Batchbook in 2006 and continues to set the company’s direction and product strategy.
Pam shared some traditional concepts, creative approaches and real world examples of small business sales strategies. Then she worked with attendees to document their own sales process – from the customer’s perspective – so areas for improvement naturally surfaced as topics for the group to collaborate on.
Women on the Move: Navigating Career Transition — Monica Singh
Monica is a corporate attorney, currently serving as an Assistant General Counsel at a multinational pharmaceutical company.
Monica initially went to a prestigious dentist school for only a short while before knowing that it absolutely wasn’t for her. She’s now much happier as a lawyer. Here are her thoughts on navigating such a change:
- Know “there’s a difference between failure and course correction.”
- Surround yourself with people who are 5-10 steps ahead of you.
- Always have mentors, which she defined as “subject experts for short periods of time.”
- Be prepared: some mentors will disappoint.
- “Let go of the victim mentality. Things aren’t happening to you, they’re happening for you.”
- Be grateful.
She brought the last point home by handing out $5 Dunkin Donuts gift cards to everyone. Monica said to give them to someone who needs it or to someone you’re grateful for – maybe the valet or your server – because “when you don’t hold things so tightly they really do come back to you.”
How to Take Charge of Your Financial Future — Maureen Kerrigan
Maureen holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Hartford and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her career began as an SEC Analyst for Northeast Utilities in CT. She then spent time as a small business owner before joining Tucker Anthony (now RBC Wealth Management) in January of 2002.
If I could become one of Maureen’s adopted daughters I would. Instead I’ll have to settle with being her client, a position I promptly secured after hearing her speak.
Maureen’s genuinely interested in arming people with financial info so they can make the right decisions for themselves. Case in point: she’s starting a series of free financial walk-in clinics, and the first one will be on retirement. Oh, and there were technical difficulties during this workshop, but nary a beat was skipped. Lots of ground was covered and the hands kept going up on everything from managing student loans to investment opportunities.
Here are some takeaways:
- Auto withdrawing student loan payments might reduce your interest rate.
- Roll old 401Ks (think: former jobs) to traditional IRAs so you have more control.
- Annuities also benefit financial advisors, some advisors don’t sell them; Maureen doesn’t.
- Have your kids take loans out for college so they can establish credit.
Tool Tip: Use a free, retirement calculator to start thinking about how & when you’d like to retire.
BLOGGER PANEL — Stephanie Weers, Kate Bowler, Lily Herman, Jennifer Romolini, + Alison Vinciguerra
This conversation touched a bit on finding your voice, what material to cover, and how to stay productive. Here are the takeaways:
- Know what readers are expecting from you.
- Keep the definition of who you are tight; leave it to other venues to push what you’re not about.
- Have easy hits always at the ready (Think: daily photo, what I’m reading), and keep a list of longer, back-burner ideas ready as well. This organizes a writer’s brain to always be putting out content, some of which is really easy to generate.
- Find the right social networks for your Brand. Not all of them are a good fit for everyone.
Tool Tip: Carousel App adds phone photos right to dropbox.
WRITERS + AUTHORS PANEL — Loren Intolubbe-Chmil, Julie Tremaine, Lisa Jakub, + Maureen Petrosky
This panel was really about the real work of writing for a living and first de-romanticising the job, which in turn gives you “the permission to take it seriously.” For those of you with a writing job:
- Sit your ass down and write. It’s that easy. And sometimes that hard.
- Write an amount that works for you. Every. Single. Day.
- Go back and forth between what you have to write and what you want to write.
- Have peer reviewers and get tons of feedback.
- Everyone on this panel reads constantly and is often inspired by what they read, which in turn makes their work better.