I kicked off a very busy Women’s History Month preparing for a talk I’m giving today to help women elevate their professional presence. As I pulled together the information, I had the good fortune of a calendar packed full of events celebrating women business owners. I surrounded myself with dynamic leaders and listened to their histories, stories and advice. One thing about surrounding yourself with successful people you admire is that you pick up tips and pieces of advice just by listening and observing how they got to be so successful. Here are some of the things that their experiences underlined for me this month, and which I plan to reflect on in the coming months.

  1. Build a supportive network. I was grateful to be one of the sold out crowd in the audience Women Elevating Women and enjoyed the panel discussion so much I went to the same panel twice! It didn’t hurt that it included some of my all-time favorite women – Camille Burns of WPO, Sandra Eberhard of WPEO-DC -and other leading DC area business women. They imparted the wisdom that there is no substitute for building a supportive network. There are organizations to help and you should find one that clicks with you. You’ll grow much faster than if you go it alone.
  2. You’re more productive when you have fun. I was going with some clients to theĀ WPEO Awards Breakfast in New York so my friend Darcy Flanders and I decided to get people together the night before for a cocktail reception. Initially, I just wanted to get some like-minded women together for networking and introduce everyone. What I realized was that the people who met at the reception then were able to network more effectively because they had a crew of people looking out for them at the event, not just me and they had a whole lot more fun and people are more productive when they’re having fun.

I also won the Outstanding Women’s Business Advocate award at the breakfast. It was a thrill and an honor and here’s a picture just for fun.

5 people at an awards event with one winner

L-R: Rosemary Weppler, EY; Eliseo Rojas, ETR Consulting; Marsha Firestone, President WPEO and WPO; Liz Whitehead, 12PointFive; Sandra Eberhard, Executive Director, WPEO-DC

3. You’re more fun when you’re productive. Not only are people more productive when they’re having fun, but they have more fun when they’re productive. I finished off a busy week flying from New York to Houston for the WBENC Summit and Salute. This event features a ton of opportunities for the women business owners and WBENC corporate members who go but it can be overwhelming at first. By giving my clients a plan and a road map for them to be successful, they were able to enjoy the social events even more because they knew they were making the most of their time in Houston. And, going back to the beginning, they grew their network of advocates.

I hope you have had a winning women’s history month like I have and hope you can use this advice during the coming months of “conference season.”