Our Fave Ideas & Lessons from FearlessCon 2017
The other week, I got to meet a lot of really cool women. Women who are doing really interesting, really important things, in Philadelphia and beyond. Now in it’s third year, Femme & Fortune’s Fearless Conference hosted female entrepreneurs, bosses and side hustlers from all over to gathered to teach, learn and share together.
On Thursday night, we had wine, whiskey and Wishbone’s addictive mac and cheese while meeting new friends at the pre-conference mixer hosted by Lululemon in Fishtown.
On Friday, myself and 11 other boss babes hosted 40-minute workshops to teach each other valuable lessons and skillsets.
And on Saturday, PowerPlant Productions was turned into a beauty salon, boutique pop-up, and talk-show stage with an adorable set up for a full day of keynote speakers and panel discussions. Each was powerful, emotional and educational, and I wouldn’t have been mad about any one of them lasting the entiiire day!
A full recap would take forever, so what we’re gonna do is share some of the coolest, smartest, best ideas and lessons we took away from this year’s FearlessCon below!
The Best Ideas & Lessons from FearlessCon!
- “There’s nothing wrong with your voice because at one point in your life, it served you.”
Our vocal chords have a number of options for resonators within our body – the top of the head, nose, front of the mouth, deep in the chest. As Americans, our society tends to keep things closer to our mouths and therefore, we don’t utilize our full range.
Casey Erin Clark and Julie Fogh (of Vital Voice Training) covered a lot in their workshop “What Does Authority Sound Like?”, which was a fabulous kickoff to the conference. We learned how to sit, how to draw breath properly (from the back – think about your rib cage expanding out!), how to think about our voice as a means to accomplishing something specific on conversation… The takeaway? There is nothing wrong with your voice, but if you’re unhappy with it, maybe your voice doesn’t reflect your authentic self anymore. Knowing how to play with different ranges and qualities gives you options, both personally and professionally.
- Saying sorry too often takes away from the value you provide in the workplace. In fact, in her workshop “‘I Ain’t Sorry’ – How to Stop Being Over-Apologetic in the Workplace”, Johanne Wilson (Co-Founder of Cool Creative) shared a favorite quote by that stated when women are overly apologetic, we make ourselves appear to be less trustworthy and capable of leadership positions. To help overcome this, we were challenged to try role playing scenarios with partners!
& We challenge you to try them out, too. Think about how you would address the following situations WITHOUT apologizing:
– Defending the subject of office gossip or getting a gossipping co-worker to stop running his or her mouth.
– Entering a room to greet your boss (and maybe others) during a meeting that’s already started.
– Sharing your idea with a co-worker that you believe is clearly better than one they’ve shared.
- Self-promotion isn’t as big a deal as we make it in our heads – and if def doesn’t have to feel grimy! In explaining why “Self Promo Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward”, our workshop leader Ronethea Williams (Founder of Benvida) offered four examples of how women can approach self-promotion with finesse:
– Passion: Don’t want to talk about your business? Talk about the passion that drives it. Talk about what lights you up. If you lovelovelove analyzing data, or helping others to eat healthy, or sampling exercise apparel, let that dominate the conversation. Let that naturally segue into your products or services, and your confidence and enthusiasm won’t feel forced. / Ex: Ashley Graham
– Value: Change your focus from selling to giving (with your bottom line in mind, of course!) With content marketing, there’s been a shift in the online world to offering value – whether that’s digital resources, a free quote or consulting call. How can you connect with your audience and give them something memorable to build their trust? / Ex: Gary Vaynerchuck
– Purpose: Maybe talking money and contracts makes you uncomfortable? If so, forget the sales pitch and focus on the mission behind your offering. What does your business represent? Who does it support? Who’s life is better because your company exists? Let those details drive your pitch, and no one will mistake the importance of your business in the equation. / Ex: Our own Melissa Alam!
– Ideas: A good idea is exciting, it’s novel and new. Don’t get caught up on the fact that it’s YOU talking about it. Focus on the idea itself, and let it build momentum. Ask for help in getting the word out from friends, family and fans/followers. / Ex: Chrissy Teigan? We think?
- Kristy Runzer (CFP, Founder & CEO of OnRoute Financial) challenged us all to think about money in a more psychological way in her workshop, “Practicing Self Care to Live Financially Well”. We talked about our perceptions of and relationships with money using prompts she offered to get us thinking. No budget sheets required to do this work! Ask yourself the following:
– What’s your money story? (What did you learn about money from your parents? What is your relationship with money like, and has it changed since you were younger? For example, we’re your parents spenders or savers; do you think money is empowering, overrated, or are you fearful of using it?)
– Pretend you’re at home, chilling on the couch all comfy cozy, when there’s a knock on the door. You open it, and there’s Money. What does money look like?
– What do you think that says about your thoughts on or relationship with money?
The examples from our group we’re hilarious! Some saw money as a little green alien, as Ryan Reynolds (a la Amityville Horror), as a giant palette of cash (a la Breaking Bad?), and as a single bill worth $5 million.
I saw money as a butler presenting me with a domed silver serving dish. Still deciphering all that that means…
- “There’s power in being emotional. And choosing not to show emotion is an emotional choice.” I’m hopefully quoting the right woman when I say Brigitte Daniel (EVP of Wilco Electronic Systems) shared this beautiful nugget of wisdom during the panel with the best name: “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Bleeding: Women Who Rock in Male-Dominated Industries”.
As women, we know it’s tough as hell to balance this idea of being “too” anything – emotional vs. cold, social vs. inexperienced, authoritative vs. aggressive. Swallowing your emotions IS a choice women make, and not to say that it’s good or bad, but it’s important to recognize that it is one that’s made emotionally.
- “Think of self care as self preservation.” Self care is a hot topic obvs, but it’s refreshing to talk about it (and commiserate) in a room full of other women who experience the same issues with burn out, selflessness and over-commitment. Its different than reading and nodding along with an article that makes you think of self care as something that requires time, money, and maybe even greed.
Hearing Cristina Alvarez explain the importance of self care in her talk, “Fuel Your Hustle”, we learned that your health is essential so that you can continue serving your community – be it family, clients, readers (heeey!) or your city. Well, when she puts it like thaatt…
- The things we want to stamp out of our personalities and genetic makeup as kids – our family’s culture and traditions, accents, eccentricities, even an uncommon first name – are often the things we treasure most about our identities as adults. This bit of wisdom was realized onstage during the panel discussion “Self-Made Stories: I’m A Daughter Of Immigrants & This Is My American Dream”.
This one resulted in equal measures tears and belly laughs from everyone lucky enough to be in attendance. FearlessCon founder Melissa Alam is already planning a separate event that explores this topic further. Great idea, as it was easily the most special (and, tbh, important) conversation of the weekend.
Other Great Quotes from the Fearless Conference
We could keep going forever, but we’ll end with a couple of other fave quotes from FearlessCon:
“Broke doesn’t necessarily mean zeros in your bank account – broke means you don’t have the resources to get what you want.” – Dr. Brandi Baldwin-Rana (“F*ck The Wage Gap: A Town Hall Conversation On The State Of Women & Money”
“Get WBENC certified so larger businesses looking for minority entrepreneurs can find you!” – Patrice Banks (“Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Bleeding: Women Who Rock In Male-Dominant Industries”)
“What do you think of when you see [the words pain, obstacles, hardship]? I see opportunity.” – Yasmine Mustafa (“A Story On Resiliency”)
One More Thing…
My greatest takeaway from the conference is this: As boss babes, we sell ourselves too short. I met some dope ladies who are doing incredible things.
Earning certifications held by only .1% women. Rocking and disrupting industries owned by men. Building empires. Fulfilling needs. Dedicating their time and their passions to improving the lives of others.
And every one of those women, I felt, sold herself too short when describing who she is and what she’s doing. A lot of nodding happened and hands raised when talking about imposter syndrome – that could have been a separate panel discussion or workshop on its own.
I found it magnetic to hear all these women talk about what they do – what they’re passionate about, what movements they’re starting. With every “pitch” came a new product or service or group we wanted to buy, try or join.
Our advice? Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re trying, whatever you’re making – OWN IT. And keep pushing forward!
P.S. It was awesome teaching a group of attendees about setting up and getting comfortable using Google Analytics! If you have a Google Analytics-related question, hit us up at hello(at)brokegirlsgoout(dot)com!