WOW: Key takeaways from the Women of the Web conference in Sydney

May 17th, 2019 | Daisy De Windt

Something I absolutely love about what I do is that I get to attend loads of conferences, workshops and other events. It’s really exciting to be in a room with like-minded people who are inspired and motivated to make great things happen.

The Women of the Web conference in Sydney was no exception.

Surrounded by hundreds of smart women (and a few smart men too), I enjoyed a day full of honesty and inspiration. I was touched by how personal many of the stories were, and I left feeling ready to take action.

These were my key take aways from the day.

Nobody has it all figured out (and that’s okay)

  • One speaker talked about “imposter syndrome”, which I think we can all relate to. She shared her new mindset of seeing herself as an “explorer” rather than an imposter. This really resonated with me.
  • Many of the speakers shared mistakes made in business and in life. It was touching to see professionals be so vulnerable on stage in front of so many people they didn’t know! It reminded me of how engaging authenticity is.

Create your own opportunities

  • One speaker shared her story of being a junior employee and marching up to her manager’s office to ask about an opening that was several levels above her role. She got the job and was great at it, but had to ask for it and create that opportunity for herself. This was such a great reminder of having to create your own opportunities: you can’t wait for people to notice you and hand you your dreams on a platter. Unfortunately this just doesn’t happen.
  • Another speaker shared a similar story of arranging a meeting with a manager a few levels above her role, to ask to be considered for a new senior management position. Knowing that she was qualified and suitable, she also knew that she might be overlooked if management was unaware of her interest. Once she got the job, the manager admitted that they already thought she was a great candidate and that she probably would have been offered to apply for it even if she hadn’t arranged the meeting. However, the speaker talked about how proud she was of herself for having made that meeting happen, particularly because it was a nerve-wracking experience!

Being driven by an inspiring purpose is good for business

  • Increasingly, businesses are realising that corporate social responsibility isn’t just a fad or a small part of business, but it’s a strategy for success. By serving a purpose that unites workers and stakeholders and builds a vision for positive change, a business can in fact not only survive but thrive. We were presented with compelling evidence that forms a great business case – both for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. For example, around 90% of consumers think companies should be more responsible to people and the planet.

Surround yourself with mentors and read the right books

  • Several speakers talked about their mentors and other champions who form a fantastic support network in their lives and careers. It was a reminder of the notion that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
  • Inspiration and motivation also comes from books of course, and several titles were mentioned including “Good Is The New Cool”, “The Worthy Leader”, “Radical Candour” and “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both!” – Brene Brown

  • Many speakers shared the challenges and opportunities they experienced in courageously pursuing the lives and careers they wanted. This included mothers in high level executive roles and women who work in industries that are traditionally male-dominated.
  • One speaker talked about how she grew her career by choosing courage rather than comfort. Instead of settling into each role, she would look at what she wanted to learn next, and chose to take on diverse roles that met those interests and helped her grow as a person. This presentation spoke very closely to my heart, as this has been my philosophy in my own career journey.

All in all, I walked away from WOW with a newfound sense of certainty and a longer list of books to read and things to do! It really was a wonderful event and I look forward to attending the next one. Many thanks to World Forum Disrupt for doing what you do.

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