UNC Engaging Women Conference: Reflections & Registration

Posted on June 5, 2017

This guest post is by Sarah Henricks. Two years ago, she attended the UNC Engaging Women Conference, and now she’s reflecting on that experience as we gear up for this year’s Engaging Women event.

About UNC Engaging Women:
This one-day event is designed for women interested in strengthening both their leadership skills and professional trajectory in public service. Interactive workshops focus on designing your bold professional future, identifying habits that limit your success, and building your negotiation skills.

Engaging Women in Public Service: Signals and Strategies was my first big gig with ELGL. As a new Public Affairs Assistant and a fresh-faced MPA student, I was so excited, so excited, so, so, so….scared (cue Jessie Spano mental breakdown). I wondered how long it would take for all of these accomplished, intelligent, passionate women to realize that I was a complete fraud.  

Well, imagine my surprise when keynote speaker, Carol Kinsey Goman, an internationally known, body language expert, spent most of her discussion telling us how to fake it. She told us how women, especially, have a tendency to convey body language that essentially relinquishes our power. By nodding, tilting our heads, and constantly smiling, we’re giving our power away.

Luckily, CKG let us in on a secret….power posing. Not only does slipping into the bathroom to pose like a super hero before your big meeting flood your body with testosterone and lower cortisol levels, making you feel more confident, but open, relaxed, high-power poses just look better; they convey power and authority. #1 take-away: incorporate 2 mins of power posing into each day…control your breathing, take up physical space, and show yourself and the world just how powerful you really are. Honestly though, the best part of this talk was the room full of 100+ attendees practicing their poses!

Next up were Betsy Polk and Maggie Chotas, who talked to us about how we can empower each other and work together to lead better. It was surprising to realize that it was a lot harder to think of strong partnerships between women than their male counter parts.

Forget the bromances, women partnerships equal “powerships!” Instead of the stereotypes that typically accompany women working together, Polk and Chotas taught us that when we channel our egos and combine our skills, we achieve more as a powership than either of us could have accomplished alone.

Finally, Dr. Margaret Brunson spoke with us about illumined leadership- what the heck is that? Brunson explained that illumined leadership is all about leveraging your personal experiences to increase your leadership capacity.

She told us that if we take time for self-discovery, form an action plan, and keep ourselves accountable to our own progress, we overcome common barriers that prevent us from pursuing leadership roles, like hesitating to promote ourselves, being tentative about assuming leadership roles, and a tendency to question our capacity for leadership.

The Engaging Women in Public Service conference was a great opportunity to be surrounded by smart, engaged, and empowered women. We were all there to support each other and learn new ways to increase women in leadership and achieve our personal and professional goals. Not only did we make great contacts but SEELGL and the conference attendees lit up the Twitterverse with #engagingwomen

I can hardly wait to see this year’s line-up; I’ll be following along via social media and living vicariously through the new SEELGL team! What about you?

Register today for the Engaging Women in Public Service conference – we’ll have a dynamic ELGL team in attendance to share what they’re using via social media. Leading up to the conference, we’ll share reflections like Sarah’s to highlight why this event is a must-attend.

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