This week, I attended the MBA Annual Conference in Denver where they hosted their first one-day women’s summit, Empowering You. Unfortunately, I had a prior engagement and could not attend, but it seemed like every other person I spoke with talked about how incredible the event was. I have attended many women’s events and rarely witness (or hear about) such success.
This got me thinking about what makes a successful event or initiative. Many women talk about starting something to support women in their organizations, but they fear they won’t be able to solicit engagement. At the conference, I spoke with a few women on this topic, including Ellie Mae’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Cathleen Schreiner Gates, who supported the foundation of their women’s events, Engage. Here are a few of the best practices that have made events like Ellie Mae’s Engage and MBA’s mPower so successful.
- Develop your mission and prioritize deliverables. Ellie Mae’s Cathleen Schreiner Gates explained that upon deciding to launch their women’s events, they hosted a brainstorming session in which they used design thinking to identify and prioritize the main components of the events and initiative.
- Encourage women (and men) interested in the event to lead its creation. Initiatives should have commitment from the very top of organizations, but the development should come from within the company employees to increase engagement.
- Promote consistently. In order to ensure attendance, the message and promotion should be announced repeatedly on every channel available.
- Engage men! Since men make up the majority of leadership positions, they should be aware of what their female employees are learning in order to reinforce the message. Men’s attendance also demonstrates a value for the initiative and sends the message that this is not just a “women’s issue;” it’s an “organizational issue.”
If you have successfully created a women’s event or participated in one you enjoyed, please share your findings at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be writing a larger piece on this topic and would love to hear from you.
Have a great weekend,
“I think a lot less about breaking down his door or shattering his glass ceiling – more about building my own house.” -Ava Duvernay
Health Tip On-the-Go:
Establish a regular routine – Our bodies have a rhythm that flows naturally when we stay on a consistent schedule. A regular routine will improve sleep quality and decrease stress, which will improve energy and the ability to make other healthier choices. And remember to schedule in a little time for fun and relaxation along the way! (Here’s an extra little tip for those who travel frequently: Eating in the time zone where you are helps your body adjust more easily.)