“So much of what we grow up into – or believe we are capable of – is what we see.”– Dr. Jen Welter, First Female Coach in the NFL
This is true. It’s why representation matters across the board. It’s why girls should be able to see themselves in the careers they aspire to have. The women whom little girls become don’t stop growing or learning about themselves when they become adults. They make choices on a daily basis that affect their career, their family, and their community. These choices often depend on how women talk to themselves and to others around them.
The 19th Annual Texas Conference for Women gave women a place to have honest conversations around their careers, families, and communities. Each year, the conference brings women together to learn and uplift one another. Here are a few lessons that I learned from four of the amazing speakers at the conference.
Believe in yourself.
Renata Quintini, Partner at Lux Capital
As a partner at Lux Capital, Quintini invests in many innovative and technology companies. Her advice to women in business (and in life) is to be confident; believe in yourself; and be yourself. It was Quintini’s mom who instilled in her that there is nothing that she couldn’t accomplish, if she wanted to really do it. She still works on herself regularly with mentors so she can continue to be a leader who is authentic. However, Quintini credits her mom for giving her the foundation.
Quintini is also a part of All Raise. It is a volunteer-based organization of leaders who are committed to changing the technology industry from the inside. Their programs are designed to accelerate the success of female and divers founders.
Support the work of the people who are representing you.
Nina Shaw, Founding Partner at Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano (an entertainment law firm)
When it comes to supporting diversity in the entertainment industry, Shaw said to me, “When people who are representing you do work, support that work. Amplify their work. … There is no future in the United States without the Latinx community. There just isn’t. You have to own that power and start to exercise it. When you see people who look like you doing things – support your culture. Support them.”
Shaw is a founding organizer of the #TimesUp movement. She encourages women to try to change the institution. She wants women to ask themselves what can they do to be a part of the culture change and then seek out others. If women compare stories, they often find that they have more in common and can work together to create real change.
The responsibility of the first is to ensure that you are not the last.
Dr. Jen Welter, First Female Coach in NFL and Author of Dream Big
Dr. Welter’s response to my question of how long had she been dreaming of being an NFL coach moved me. She simply replied, “One of the things about being a first is that it’s not possible to dream it. So much of what we grow up into or believe we are capable of is what we see.”
She went on to share how it was a male coach who did not let her refuse her first coaching job. She realized that she couldn’t quit because of the women who may lose opportunities to coach if she did. Dr. Welter acknowledged that she may have quit on herself but she would not quit on every one of the women who she had played with for so long.
“As women, we will often self-select out of opportunities because of things like imposter syndrome and not being willing to step up into a challenge which is not something guys typically do. If you are a male who has opportunity to elevate women – do it,” says Dr. Jen Welter.
“The responsibility of the first is to ensure that you are not the last. It gives people permission to dream bigger. This was not a dream I was permitted to have. Now, the beauty of this is other girls can grow up dreaming bigger than I ever did. Once it’s been done, it cant be undone.”
Women are already ready to become leaders. They don’t need to be fixed.
Michelle Milford Morse, VP for Girls and Women Strategy at the United Nations Foundation
When it comes to raising girls in the United States, the good news is that we’re doing a better job. Of course, there’s still more to do.
Milford Morse shares that parents can actively bust myths in their own households about the differences between boys and girls.
Her session at the conference was about overcoming bias and myths that hold girls and women back. For instance, Milford Morse reminds us that we tend to have ideas about leaders. Parents can challenge these ideas and have open conversations with both boys and girls at home.
“Women are already ready to become leaders. They don’t need to be fixed. They’re not too emotional to lead. They are just as capable of STEM careers as men. Parents can amplify those ideas and encourage girls to pursue STEM paths,” says Michelle Milford Morse.
“Girls and women should have every opportunity to seek and fulfill economic empowerment just as men do.”
WATCH THIS VIDEO of the Full Interviews with the Texas Conference for Women Speakers
20th Annual Texas Conference for Women – Oct. 24th, 2019
Registration Opens May 9th, 2019
For more details, visit txconferenceforwomen.org