As published on Forbes.com on May 28, 2013.
What motivated me to join the editorial team of Innovating Women: Past, Present & Future, co-authored by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya, was the real need for women to hear true stories about how other women strategized in their careers and rose to the top. One of the topics that has particularly hit home is the need to attend conferences and seek out mentors.
In my first job out of college as a branding consultant, to help our clients, we would look for ‘analogs,’ or how companies in different industries had overcome and tackled problems similar to those of our patrons in innovative ways. In my career, I search for ‘personal’ analogs, or people who have achieved goals similar to my own in order to study and understand their strategy and path to reach success. Repeatedly our ambassadors in Innovating Women: Past, Present & Future have spoken about how conferences have helped them find role models and mentors within their fields. Unfortunately, they also spoke of how too few women are taking advantage of these opportunities.
“For the first time in my life I went to the bathroom and noticed a big line outside the men’s room… I got into the lady’s room and found two girls in there, we all had the same reaction,” says Danielle Newman, founder of StartupByte, about her experience at Startup Weekend: “We were laughing hysterically that we were the only girls, a total of 4 girls participating in the event with about 80 men.”
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