Lead On – this was our rallying cry as over 5,000 women descended on the Santa Clara Convention Center for a day of inspirational and motivational speakers, leadership, and career development at Watermark’s inaugural Lead On Conference in late February.
Imagine walking into a room of over 5,000 professional women, ready to learn from the speakers and peers on hot topics of importance to women in the workplace. Topics ranged from, workshops on effective communication and physical and emotional wellness — to resume workshops, and opportunities to hear panels of experts speak about social entrepreneurship, and overcoming gender bias in the workplace. It was truly a sight. There was something for everyone; a rarity for even the most seasoned conference goer.
In addition, to the informative workshops and panels, we were joined by several influential, powerhouse women who shared their insights and experiences on women in the workplace. Here are a few highlights:
The conference opened with a keynote address from Diane Von Furstenberg who spoke about her start in the fashion industry, how she revolutionized women’s fashion, but also re-invented herself several times. It was reaffirming to hear her state that challenges happen at every level of career, but to be true to who you are throughout the process.
Following DVF’s opening keynote, we were joined on stage for a panel that included Jill Abramson, the first woman to serve as the Washington Bureau Chief for the New York Times, Jessica Herrin, CEO and founder of Stella & Dot, Rosalind L. Hudnell, VP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at Intel, moderated by Kara Swisher, columnist, commentator and co-founder of Revere Digital. The panel discussed gender discrimination, women in leadership roles at all levels of a company, including in the boardroom, and the state of women in the workplace today.
For me, it was the next keynote that was the most inspirational. Candy Chang an artist, designer and creator, discussed community building and public art. The art installations that she developed were tools for the community to come together and have a voice about their neighborhood in a positive and meaningful way.
Check out videos of most of the keynotes here.
At the end of the day, we left the conference inspired, motivated, and ready to tackle the challenges that we have in front of us. Thank you, Jenny Dearborn, for your continued support of Women@SAP. Let’s Lead On!