The bi-annual Microsoft Women’s Conference was held last week on the Microsoft Redmond Campus. I keep enjoying this conference more and more each year.
In my humble opinion, the Executive Roundtable event was by leaps and bounds the most productive, most rewarding event I have ever seen offered to Women in Technology. I often wonder what more we can do to retain the current talented women in the technology field. This event hit a home run in retaining me.
Top Sessions I Attended
Despite popular belief, I do not have enough energy to be in two places at once. These are my personal favorites, based on the sessions I was able to attend. In no way is this meant to be a reflection of the overall top session at the conference.
Key takeaways from these sessions are below.
Achieving Peek Performance… No Matter What
Wow, what a session to kick-off the conference. Bonnie St. John won the Bronze medal for downhill skiing in the Paralympics, but if you check out the picture, you’ll notice that she has one leg. Besides being an Olympic athlete, she’s a White House economic official, a Rhode scholar, and a consultant to the Fortune 500. NBC Nightly News refers to Bonnie as one of the five most inspiring women in America.
"Winners aren’t those who don’t make mistakes. Winners are people who can get up after a fall the fastest."
Other Notable Quotes
1-1 with Bonnie
Bonnie asked me what was my biggest takeaway was from the talk. I said “it was the story about never forget to find joy in life. I get so focused on problem solving that I forget to see the forest for the trees.”
Working for You Isn’t Working for Me
They brought in a Harvard-trained psychotherapist to explain how to get along at work! I love it! Katherine Crowley, a Harvard trained psychotherapist, and Kathi Elster, a management consultant, started their company K Squared Enterprises. They also wrote the book Working with You Is Killing Me.
Quite possibly the best session at the conference. The speakers not only clearly defined their objectives, but also delivered them. The pace, the format, the audience interaction was spot on.
“Do NOT take the other person’s behavior personally. They are not attacking you as much as you think they are.”
Become a Change Master: Mastering the art of mind and body change
This was a fun talk! But then again, since I was 5 years old, I’ve wanted to be a 97-year old bodybuilder so I can be featured on the local news. Dr. Pamela Peek is the Chief Medical Correspondent for Discovery Health TV. She also wrote the book Body for Life for Women.
"Take your dog for a walk, even if you don’t have one."
1-1 with Dr. Pamela
I told her how I wanted to be a 97-year old weightlifter and how motivating it was to see 90 year old women competing in athletic events. She suggested that I try out powerlifting, even though I tried to explain to her that I am really not that strong. She also told me if I was interested in starting triathlons, I should check out http://www.irongirl.com
Microsoft 2.0: An interview with Mary Jo Foley
This was fun to see the interviewer and interviewee swap seats. Mary Jo Foley is a journalist and blogger who has covered the technology industry for more than 25 years.
Not surprising, my key takeaway was her answer to my question during the Audience Q&A session. For a second there, the format of the session and ambiance of the conference room made me feel like I was one of the theater students at Inside The Actors Studio, especially with the dramatic waiving of my arms for the microphone person to see me in the back row.
My question was “You’ve stated that you picked journalism over broadcast because you wanted to stay behind the pen. But, when you became a blogger, you now had your personal bio out there in the public light. If you could go back in time, what is the one thing you wish you could tell yourself about blogging.”
Her answer was, “To grow thick skin. Knowing this would have helped to avoid many sleepless nights.”
I wholeheartedly concur.
And this concludes my 3rd Microsoft’s Women’s Conference. Thank you Microsoft for yet another AWESOME event. Until next time.