IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum – a Young Professionals’ Perspective

June 4, 2016

Femke Morelisse

Femke Morelisse, Sales Manager at GES, currently operates in Washington DC and Mid-Atlantic market – focusing on offering value and solutions to new customers. 

I recently attended the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) with two of my colleagues. We had the opportunity to network with several successful women who are truly change makers in the trade show and events industry, willing to serve as mentors and coaches to young professional women.

The sessions we attended were centered on 5 standards women should consider when evaluating our professional and personal development.

When the forum ended, we left feeling inspired to share our experiences and key takeaways from our 2-day think tank, so we compiled our notes and “aha” moments.

Here are 5 points that truly captured our attention:  

1.       Discover what you have to offer, then capitalize on it.

What's your personal tagline? What do you want to be an expert at? Take time to reflect on your passions and consider your skills to help determine your career niche. Discover the value you can offer to your organization or the industry and capitalize on it. When your skills and talents align with your passions, you’ll become an expert in your career and make your value more visible to others.

2.       Don’t be afraid to deviate from your original path.

As young professionals, we’re constantly being asked where we see ourselves in the future and what our next steps will be. Attending the WLF showed us that regardless of your stage in life, there will always be new opportunities or decisions that may alter your original path. It’s okay to reevaluate your goals and reflect on what’s important to you.

3.       Pause… now consider your future goals.

It’s human nature to create expectations and hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold others. When we can’t realistically measure up to expectations, let’s consider it a time to learn rather than a setback. This quote comes to mind:

“When we keep fighting for what we think we want, never slowing down enough to actually learn the lesson that our Expectation Hangover is attempting to teach, it is impossible to clarify what we truly want and need. We’re too drunk with expectations to notice when we are headed in the wrong direction.” – Christine Hassler

4.       Focus on developing your inner authenticity.

As leaders, we can go from good to great by inspiring and supporting others. Leaders make others feel safe and smart. Be intentional about how you interact with others and always show genuine curiosity. You never know what others are going through, so it’s important to be kind and caring towards everyone.

5.       Know the issues, get connected and stay motivated.

Julia Smith talked about issues women face in the workforce in her latest blog. As young professional women, it’s important that we understand the history and economics of these matters. Being directly exposed to the women fighting for equal rights has motivated us to work smarter and understand the values we bring as young women team members.

We want to thank IAEE for organizing an innovative and intimate conference for the professional women leaders in our industry. We hope this post enables other young professional women to understand the unparalleled value this conference brings to their personal and professional development.

If you want to join a company that supports the vital role that women play in the workplace, take a look at GES’ careers page here.

A special thank you to co-authors Alyssa Sterioti and Katherine Ballew for their contributions to this article.

This article was originally published on GES Blog

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