I have been pretty lucky (yet deservedly so due to my hard work and constant networking) to be invited to some upper-echelon conferences offered by today’s top-tier thought leaders and all-around movers and shakers. Because these conferences have given me soooo much life, inspiration and rejuvenation I want to share some of the best women’s conferences with you.
There’s a saying, “There’s an app for that!” Know it? Well, there’s a conference for that. It just depends on what your “that” is. From empowerment to faith-based to tech, there is a gathering of women, meeting and exchanging ideas and business cards that will help change lives for the better … worldwide! Here are a few to check out:
TEDWomen is a three-day conference about the power of women and girls to be creators and changemakers. The 2018 dates are yet to be released as of this writing. (2017 was in November and 2016 was in October.)
Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit is a professional leadership conference designed especially for executive women of color. March 7-10, 2018 (Hurry!) I’ve spoken at this conference a couple of times before and was named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2017, so I may be slightly biased about how fab I think it is. You should still check it out.
BET’s Leading Women Defined Summit is an-invitation only gathering, at the behest of BET Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee. Approximately 100 strategic thought leaders who are at the top of their game in their respective industries convene in Miami during Women’s History Month. I’ve been fortunate to be invited for the last five years and have been afforded the opportunity to meet and hear from First Lady Michelle Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, ballet royalty Misty Copeland, entertainment legends Queen Latifah, Diahann Caroll and Cicely Tyson just to name a few. Each year is more memorable than the last.
ColorComm Women of Color In Communications Conference is one of my favs! Launched by the effervescent Lauren Wesley Wilson six years ago ColorComm is an essential organization for women of color in all areas of communications including Public Relations, Corporate Communications, Advertising Print Media, Broadcast, Digital and more. With a mission to personally connect women with other like-minded individuals and build a strong network of leaders by creating mentors/mentees, business relationships and friendships, this conference takes place in Hawaii this year June 4 -7.
Forbes Women’s Summit brings together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, entertainment, and politics. June 18-19, 2018
TheMuse.com has assembled some great conferences, though not exclusively for women, both stateside and internationally. And for my techy ladies, here’s another thorough list on Bizzabo.com. Take a click peak and find something that speaks to your wheelhouse of expertise and area for growth this year.
I find women’s conference are best for making long-term industry friends. And I try to attend three conferences a year. Tips for maximizing your time:
- If you go with a friend, don’t hang out with her exclusively! You already know her. Meet someone new! I try to set a minimum networking goal of meeting at least three new people at each conference with whom I try to stay in touch.
- If you can, try to attend one or two conferences regularly. That’s how you truly build lasting relationships with other long-term attendees. Networking at the BET Leading Women Defined Conference led to me being invited to meet with Oprah’s marketing, research and sales team this past year.
- Stretch your brain – sit in on at least one breakout session of which you know nothing about!
- Do your homework in advance. Know who the speakers are and don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself. They’re people too. I met Whoopi Goldberg last year and she couldn’t have been more gracious.
Conference experiences are invaluable. Not only do I stay connected to what’s going on in my industry, I see old friends and colleagues, and just as importantly, they see me! You never know what benefit your presence provides to someone else. Sometimes just being there is enough. Make it a Pink Elephant goal to attend at least two conferences this year to make you 100% Diva fabulous!
P.S. Yes, I realize this isn’t an inclusive list. That is by design. Including the big one you think I’ve forgotten that begins with an O. I only recommend conferences where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of their titles. ‘Nuff said.