Recently, a few of you have inquired as to how the decision is made on who will be speaking at the NH Conference for Women each year, and how topics are chosen. Here are some insights:
First and foremost, I listen to YOU, my beloved “Pink Posse.” Every year, after each conference, I ask for feedback about what topics are important to you women, and how to raise the bar on the conference. Thankfully, you are not a shy group and always provide me with great feedback both positive and constructive. Over and over, the reoccurring themes of the comments were, “get back to basics,” “focus on all areas of a woman’s life,” “have a more well-rounded conference without a singular focus,” “have more speakers instead of just 3 or 4,” I also look at my own life, and the lives of the women in my inner circle, and feel that we are overall pretty typical women, and if something is a challenge for us in our lives, it probably is for many women.
Last year, for example, when I hired Jack Canfield, I got a lot of feedback about hiring a male speaker for a conference for primarily women. (see blog post HERE). I stated at the time that I vowed to bring the women of the WIW community the best – the best quality, the best WIW leadership possible, the best speakers, and the most Kick Ass Conference that New England has ever seen! When I wanted the focus of last year’s conference to be ‘success,’ there was no one better in that arena that Jack.This leads me to this year’s conference, and the reason for this blog post. Some of the feedback I have received is “there is no big name speaker” and the conference isn’t “sexy enough.” Some thoughts on this feedback:
- Again this year, our focus is on quality. We are bringing together 6 speakers who are experts in their field. Topics being covered touch on “all aspects of a woman’s life” such as overall happiness, productivity, time management, relationships, money, and taking action instead of letting life happen to you. It provides the opportunity to learn from someone who does so much and outwardly looks like her s**t is together, but sometimes it is not. Yup, real woman sharing a story that is relatable to all of us. Sound familiar?
- Although these speakers do not appear on a nationally syndicated television show, or have not produced NY Times best sellers, they are women like you and me who are respected in their fields and who you can learn from. They are real. They are knowledgeable. They are inspiring. And who knows, one day their brilliance may shine through in the next “Chicken Soup for the Soul” type phenomenon. Or more importantly, maybe something they will say will shine a beacon on something in your life you have been struggling with.
- Over the years, and as WIW has grown, I hear from women that they come to the conference for the experience, and the speakers are secondary. This makes my heart happy. It is a day like no other – we make new friends, see familiar faces for a warm smile and embrace, we celebrate each other, we get jazzed up, we get some pampering, we do a little shopping with the exhibitors, we have a mocktini at our Cool Chick Canteen (or we add a little ‘something-something’ to it), we receive gifts, we enjoy delicious food, and sometimes we even shake our groove thing. We celebrate ourselves and each other for being the most fabulous “us” we can be. And hopefully in between the boas and tiaras and mocktails (oh my!), we learn.
- Speaking of learning – even if life is good, there is nothing new you can learn at this stage in your life, or you have heard it all before, I want to remind you that sometimes you hear something differently that changes everything! Maybe it was the right message at the right time or was said differently in a way that you could now relate. Maybe it is something that makes you say to yourself, “Wow, I thought I was the only one that felt like that.” My point is – be open to receiving new information or just get a reminder of something you have heard before. You never know what will spark something in you.
- Speaking of sparking . . . one of my favorite quotes I have been known to share with you ladies is, “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.” This year’s conference could be the thing that buffs your sparkle back to its shiny state, or you could be the buffer for someone else. Be there with, and for the other women. As my bud Robin Roberts says, “Everybody’s got something.” By coming together with other women, you are not only showing your commitment to your own personal growth, but showing your support to others as well. You never know when something you share will resonate with someone else. You sometimes don’t realize the impact your warm smile can have. It is a powerful thing to have hundreds of women all learning and celebrating life, knowing that we are all in this together and we all “got something” but it is okay. It is a day when our struggles and flaws can make an appearance and you know that we all have your back. Be the buffer.
Here is what Jack Canfield had to say after his experience speaking at the conference last year:
“I loved working with Leslie Sturgeon and the WIW Conference. It was a great conference, well run by a great woman, and it attracted a large audience of wonderfully conscious and committed women (as well as a few brave men).
I was well taken care of from start to finish. I highly recommend this conference to anyone—both participants and future speakers alike—who want to learn, grow and make a difference in an atmosphere of awakened consciousness and total support.
I made several new friends at the conference that I am still working with or in touch with.”
—Jack Canfield, Coauthor of The Success Principles and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series
But more importantly than what Jack Canfield thought, here is what one of our guests thinks about our conferences.
“I attended my first WIW conference three years ago because I met the head of WIW, Leslie Sturgeon and as a professional woman in NH and busy Mom of 3, she suggested I attend. I was not sure what to expect. I was completely blown away by the caliber of the speakers but more so by the caliber of the women in the room. I found myself standing up and dancing in a room full of 100s of other women I did not know, in the middle of a Friday afternoon in the middle of Manchester, NH and I felt like I was at a gathering of old friends. I have attended two other NH Conferences for Women since then and each one helps me so much personally and professionally. As soon as the conference date is announced, I put in for a vacation day because that day is for ME and as a working, Mom of 3 there are not many days like that. I can’t wait for next year.”
–Kim Kett Johnson, Moultonborough, NH
So when I am asked how speakers for each year’s conference are chosen, please know it is from listening to you, my Posse, and I can only hope that you will come and share the day with us and walk away with a brighter sparkle than you came in with. Here’s the link to make it easy for you, tee hee.
WIW Visionary and Founder
Additional kudos from the gang HERE.