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 Don't Stop at Networking: Find a Sponsor 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

Mentors help us navigate professional challenges, while sponsors, usually executive-level leaders, advocate for us. Both mentors and sponsors are vitally important to our professional success. Learn how to identify and seek both mentors and sponsors so that you can elevate your career. Having positive, successful mentors and sponsors can change how we view ourselves and our future careers.

Without sponsorship from senior leaders, the majority of whom are male, women will not possess the confidence, exposure, and experience they need for career advancement. Embrace the opportunity to actively seek the right sponsors and nurture these relationships to support your professional aspirations. According to the Harvard Business Review, both men and women fail to create a network of professional sponsors. Yet women are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.

Learn how to build an “engagement strategy” focused on your networking aspirations. Analyze your organization and identify people who are working in an area that interests you. Identify committees and join in social activities that include your potential sponsors. Remember to diversify and seek both male and female sponsors.

While it may feel more comfortable to wait for recognition, it is much more effective to be proactive. It is essential that you effectively communicate your desires for salary increase, promotion, and new assignments.

Be intentional. Be patient. As with any relationship, rapport with your mentors and sponsors will not grow overnight. Learn how to cultivate those relationships in a way that benefits you, your mentors, and your sponsors.

"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." — Oprah Winfrey American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist

"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it." - Maya Angelou, American writer and civil rights activist

 Lisa Miller  Renada Norman  Alvina Thomas
Lisa Miller
Chief Communications Officer, ULM
Renada Norman
Vice President of Quality Control & Analytics, Chase Bank
Alvina Thomas
Dean of Student Success Services, Louisiana Delta Community College

New paradigm in women’s leadership  2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Women face a challenging task: balancing authority while mitigating the societal pressures placed upon their gender. Women tend to mask their achievements, communicate in ways that place them at a disadvantage, and avoid negotiating for salaries and positions for which they are highly qualified.

Men are commonly perceived as authoritative figures, while women are viewed as nurturers. When a woman asserts her authority, she is deemed too aggressive. If she plays the role of peacemaker, she is viewed as weak. Conversely, when men demonstrate leadership, they are applauded for their confidence.

For fear of sounding bossy, women soften their speech with politeness. Do you ever find yourself rephrasing statements as questions? Instead of saying: “I need this completed by tomorrow,” a female might say, “Do you think you could finish this by tomorrow?” Women also soften their statements by using phrases like, “I just think…”

While men often use the pronoun “I,” when claiming an idea, women often say “we.” Women do not want to appear arrogant, so they use the word “we,” to camouflage their achievements. Instinctually, we want to project a feeling of agreement so that we do not appear too aggressive. Women also often say “I’m sorry,” when expressing empathy about an adverse scenario in which someone is at a disadvantage. Apologizing, not claiming credit for one’s idea, and softening one’s statements can be mistaken for weakness. Learn how to project your thoughts with clarity and confidence.

"I'm not the woman president of Harvard. I’m the president of Harvard." - Drew Gilpin Faust, American historian and was the 28th President of Harvard University

"Next time you are about to call a little girl 'bossy', say instead: She has executive leadership skills." - Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

 Laura Clark Kandice Guice   Lindsey Nadler
Laura Clark
Founder, Vivian’s Voice, LLC
Kandice Guice
Attorney and founder of the #MoreThanPrettyCampaign

Lindsey Nadler
Life and Business Coach and Leader of The Passionista Community


 How to Make Boss Moves as a Female Entrepreneur/Business Owner 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Does the idea of being your own boss excite you? Create a solid plan to achieve your professional aspirations by learning from established female entrepreneurs and business owners who have experienced it all—success and disappointment. Learn how to build confidence, create a support system, and dream big. Women often undervalue their potential. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, said, "The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."

Learn how to identify—and always remember—the reason you created your business and the legacy you want to establish. Benefit from these entrepreneurs and business owners who have become experts in their fields by never ceasing to learn, eliminating negative influences, and growing professional networks.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, interpersonal skills are vital for interacting with clients, customers, and vendors. Do you possess the ability to listen and understand what your customers are seeking? Can you confidently sell your skills to potential clients? Do you practice your professional values? Clients and business contacts trust people who portray respect, fairness, integrity, and honesty.

Reputation is capital. Staying true to who you are will generate an authentic version of success. Financial independence stems from a confident approach to risk-taking. Long-term financial security means constantly making “money moves” to benefit yourself, your business, and your reputation within the industry.

"Every woman should have a purse of her own." - Susan B. Anthony, women’s rights activist

"Just because you are CEO, don't think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization." - Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

 Kelly Moore Clark  Melissa Saye  Kim Shepard

Kelly Moore Clark
Photographer, Owner, Kelly Moore Bag

Melissa Saye
Founder/Director, Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum

Kim Shepard
Founder/CEO, In-Sync Accounting & Consulting