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This week I had the pleasure to attend the annual WBENC conference, this year held in Austin, Texas. This is always a stellar event and a great opportunity to be in the company of some very inspirational female – and male – co-attendees, all committed to the power of diversity in business. This year, in my opinion, was the best yet: a masterclass in a well-structured, highly informative and multi-layered conference experience.
The range of guest speakers was incredible. I was lucky enough to catch racing driver superstar Danica Patrick’s talk which went the overall theme of the conference of “get up when you fall down.” One line in particular stood out: “What sets you apart – embrace it, it’s what makes you different.” This to me is a great message about believing in oneself, but also taking that one step further and seeing the value of the differences in others. The theme of perseverance and the importance of being open to new things captured so well by Danica also really reflected the general ambiance and feeling of the overall event.
Another highlight of this event was the focus on supporting up and coming WBEs, exemplified in no better way than the appearance of Mikaila, the ten (yes, ten!) year-old founder of Bee Sweet Lemonade whose eloquent, engaging and very smart talk charmed – and inspired – a room of delegates with considerably more years on the clock!
Working with clients in industries ranging from mHealth to government to tech startups, I really appreciated the broad spectrum of workshops available. As I’ve mentioned before, justifying the time away (or even finding the time in the first place to get away from the office) to attend conferences can be difficult. But the opportunity to attend workshops held by experts in their individual fields, and to learn such in-depth knowledge across diverse subjects over a short period of time is not one to be passed up. If you haven’t attended a WBENC conference before, I can’t recommend highly enough becoming an active member of this incredible community and attending next year (or consider going to one of their interim events in the meantime).
Finally, congratulations to this year’s MBE Magazine’s WBEs Who Rock! As one attendee put it, “Together, we are stronger and more powerful. And by celebrating excellence in our community, we all push each other forward.”
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