Last week I had the opportuntiy to attend the Women’s Leadership Exchange  event held at IKEA Sunrise (for the 2nd time).  My organization, The Women’s eCommerce Association was a media partner so our job was to help spread the word about the event. And that we did! In fact, I saw several of our members in attendance as well as women from other organizations in Florida and around the country. Women came from far and wide to attend this one-day leadership and business building Conference.
The theme this year was “Forget the No-Hows, Learn the New-Hows.” The conference organizers and founders Leslie Grossman and Andrea March Should be proud because, in my humble opinion the event lived up to the theme. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. I judge an event based upon the people I meet, the knowledge I gain and the ability to apply that knowledge to my own life and business. The Women’s Leadership conference did that and more!
The vision of the Women’s Leadership exchange is the create more women leaders in the world. I met and spoke with several women who have taken what they are learning at WLE and applying it to their business and personal lives. 

Leslie Grossman, Marci G. Fox and Andrea March

Our kickoff keynote speaker was Marci G. Fox  Ph.D co-author of Think Confident, Be Confident. Her talk was based on the Four-Step Program to Eliminating Doubt. Here are the four-steps:
Step One:Label It ~  recognize the clues that doubt has surfaced, and put a label on them.
Step Two: Question It ~  examinine and evaluate the trueness of the doubt, which almost always feels real but is typically unwarranted.
Step Three: Rethink It ~ learn how to replace your doubt-driven rules and strategies with confidence and then name and chip away at your doubt label so that you can replace it with a more accurate confident belief.
Step Four: Take Action ~ learn strategies to think and behave effectively and fearlessly

The event  also featured the following workshops and presenters:
On Your Own: What You Need to Know to Launch Your Business or Consulting Service presented by Susan Wilson Solovic, CEO,  
“Lead, Follow or Get Out of my Way!” – The Power of Persuasion in Leadership presented by Karen Baetzel, Retired US Navy Captain
Harnessing the Power of the Web and Social Networks for Business Success Presented by Shawna Vercher, CEO, Vti-Web & President, The SSW
The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life presented by Maribeth Kuzmeski, President, Red Zone Marketing 

I attended Harnessing the Power of the Web and The Connectors.
Here are some of my take-aways:

Shawna Vercher

From Shawna: Social networking is not about the tool, it’s about marketing. Ask yourself “why am I using it?  Who am I trying to reach? What do I want people to think about when they think of me?
Shawna spoke about working on the Obama campaign and all the grass roots social networking efforts and how they obviously paid off. 
On blogs: If a blogger recommends you people are 80% more likely to buy from you. (think blog tours). One interesting fact about blogs: did you know there are more professional bloggers in the US than firefighters? 

BTW, Shawna will be a featured Woman in Business on WE Magazine for Women in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Heidi Richards Mooney and Maribeth Kuzmeski

From Maribeth: Ask great questions. Become really good at interviewing others and listening for the replies. Here are the Heart questions Maribeth suggested we ask: What are your biggest challenges? What is the most interesting thing that has happened in Business? Where did you grow up?  Tell me something that noboby knows?
During lunch Susan Wilson Solovic, author of  The Girls Guide 2 Power and Success  and several other titles and whom I have had the pleasure to interview during the launch of the NAFE Virtual Network in 2005 and again during  The Women’s Media Summit.

Susan Wilson Solovic, Andrea March and Leslie GrossmanSusan was interviewed by Leslie and Andrea “talk show style” and spoke about her journey to success, how she started before online Video TV was even popular as well as other interesting tidbits from her life.
Here are two of Susan’s tips (which I tweeted ):


1. Know your WHAT – WHAT you do well, don’t try to be all things to all people
2. Don’t focus on what you didn’t do or have no control over… learn from it and move forward
My favorite part of the day came after lunch when we did facilitated networking with our table partners. I love being able to chat one-on-one with new people and learn about what they do.  What I loved about this format was there was an actual formula we used to guide us during the networking time. 
We partnered with someone we didn’t know and were given the following instructions:
Each person Share your 30 second (or less) elevator speech. 

Ask each other the following 3 questions to better understand their business:

1. Why are you doing that?
2. What makes what you are doing unique?
3. How can I support you?
And the final step was to exhange business cards with everyone at the table and then introduce our partner to the rest of the table. (Our table was a part of the advanced group as we had exhanged cards before the activity actually began *SMILE)

It was very powerful. I saw many women in the room exchange business cards and put each other’s phone numbers into their PDA’s and cell phones.  I got to introduce Dr. Shobha Gupta, President of S3G a web design and software development company.   
After the networking activity, we broke for Speedcoaching and I have to admit that’s when I departed so was not there to take advantage of the opportunity to pick a growth guru (or several) and pick her brain for 5 minutes about a topic I need help with. Many of the hundred + women stayed to participate in that session and I when spoke to a couple of them they said it was one of their favorite parts of the day. I did find out later that my name was drawn for 2 beautiful chairs generously donated by IKEA. That will teach me to not leave early!
My hats off to Leslie and Andrea for the exceptional job they did putting this event on. I am so looking forward to the next one and will be sharing more of what I have learned in future posts.

Victoria and Eleanor Petrenko during the kick-off of WLE