I was fortunate enough to participate in an event last week. It was Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. In preparing for the event, I read through the details of the event and attendance. WOW – participants and speakers included Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, President Obama, Warren Buffett!!
I started feeling some stress level thinking I would be speaking at an event with such powerful people. Fortunately, my session was early on Tuesday so I only had a short while to fret before I could fully enjoy the event. At the start of the event, every woman introduced herself. I was in a room of about 350 VERY impressive women. As the event went on, I heard about some of the challenges they faced and obstacles the overcame. There was a woman with 6 children, also taking care of her aged parents, who was continually turned down for a loan to start up a business. She finally decided to take the equity out of her house to fund the business herself. She gave the papers to her husband to sign and asked him not to read what he was signing. She is now a very successful CEO of a very profitable construction business.
The session I participated in was a virtual panel event with Paula Dobriansky, Senior VP and Head, Government Affairs, Thomas Reuters joined me with the moderator. Feedback has been good on the virtual session and they had a lot more participate virtually than they expected. The format for the event was casual and having panels instead of speeches kept it interesting with most events being 20-30 minutes long. Q&A after most of the sessions allowed for very direct questions to the panel members.
Networking went on during the entire event and at the breaks. I even ran into Susan Schwab who is one of our FedEx Board Members. I also couldn’t resist meeting and talking with Billie Jean King. If you have time, I encourage you to visit the site at
http://events.unisfair.com/rt/fortune~mpws and they will have replays available on-demand soon. I will say that this is one of the best events (and formats) that I have participated in and it is very humbling.