Since joining The Partnership back in November, I have had June 6, 2014 circled on my calendar.
Being able to plan Power UP, an event so strongly focused on women in business, was one task I couldn’t wait to get started on.
Throughout my planning, Jacquie Walker from WIVB-TV has been a great source of information and inspiration, as she served as the keynote speaker for Power UP last year and also moderated the panel.
Walker is back again this year to moderate the panel, and I had the opportunity to ask her about her experience at last year’s event and how it relates to this year.
Q: All of the attendees took away so much from your keynote speech last year on building your brand. What helped you prepare for your keynote?
A: Reading, research, and navel-gazing! I tapped a number of sources for hard data and background material that I thought would be useful in developing my keynote entitled: Building Your Brand — Which Way Are You Leaning? Most helpful to me was a book that I highly recommend, particularly to women in the beginning stages of their careers, “Knowing Your Value” by Mika Brzezinski.
I also interviewed successful women, drew on my own work experiences, and pulled together notes on bits of advice that have been rattling around my brain for years — observations on 30+ years in the workplace. That’s how I developed my top ten ways for building your brand.
Q: What was your favorite part about the Power UP event last year?
A: There’s a good feeling when everything clicks; when the message hits home with people and they are moved to participate. I loved it when hands went up during the Q & A session; when people started to share their own experiences and I could see heads nodding.
It was great to feel that were all learning together and would walk out the door with our wheels turning, ready to see challenges in a new way.
Q: What was the most powerful thing you took away from the Power UP event last year?
A: I was so happy that the message resonated with those in the room. We had a meaningful and fun discussion.
I was blown away by the huge interest in mentors. I was going to cut that part out of my speech because I’ve never had a successful experience or opportunity to work with a mentor, but so many of the women at last year’s Power UP event have had great success with mentors and were eager to talk about it. I learned a lot from that part of the discussion.
Q: If you were to mentor someone, what is the best advice you could give a woman on advancing her career?
A: My biggest piece of advice for ANYONE looking to advance their career is — unless you are in some type of jeopardy morally, physically, or emotionally — never quit your job until you have the next job. Looking for work can be lonely and lengthy; and potential employers can view you as damaged goods if you don’t have a job.
It’s much better to make your plans, work your contacts, and score at career chess from the inside of a company rather than to be on the outside trying to walk in.
Q: What do you expect attendees to gain from attending Power UP this year?
A: There is something uplifting about connecting with other women in the workplace who rarely get together, but share common goals.
We all want to move forward; we want to work in a positive environment, and we want to be healthy in mind and body. When we meet in this spirit — good things are bound to happen. I look forward to this new opportunity to Power Up!
Q: This year’s theme, as you know, is turning setbacks into successes. What are you looking forward to most with this year’s discussion topic?
A: This topic gives us a natural chance to learn from each other. We’ve all been knocked down at one point or another in our careers – the key is how did we get up, dust ourselves off, and keep charging forward. I think, like last year, the Q&A offers us a lot of opportunity.
This year’s topic has clearly resonated with our region, as evidenced by the sold out status of the event.
However, a waiting list has been started! If you are interested in having your name added to the list, please reach out to me at 716-541-1720 or by email.
While Power UP will be a great way to kick start the discussion about the important role that women play in business, we know that the event is just the start of a conversation that we hope to continue throughout the next few months.
We encourage you to join the conversation through social media, using #PowerUpBN!