I recently had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Watermark Women’s Conference held in Silicon Valley, and what an experience it was! From the headlining speakers that included Serena Williams, Dr. Brene Brown and Gloria Steinem, to networking with other women leaders, and learning new skills at top-notch professional sessions, I left feeling grateful for my time there and more fired up than ever.
Watermark was started in Silicon Valley with a mission to help increase the representation of women at executive levels to drive innovation, human development and economic growth through programs focused on connection, development and advocacy.The conference is one way it supports women in making their mark in and for their companies, their careers and their communities.
Below are a few of my favorite, practical takeaways from the conference:
- Know Your Worth – Studies show there is still a significant gender pay gap among women and even more so for minority women. Many women tend to fear asking for a raise and believe it could hurt their relationship with their employer, but in most cases, employers and bosses will be more successful if their employees are happy and feel valued. You must remember that it’s not just about money. Asking for a raise or negotiating a salary during the hiring process starts with knowing your own worth and having a plan to demonstrate how and where you could take a company. Be sure to research competitors, talk with others in your network, understand the market and that timing may be everything.
- Manage Up Successfully – One of the most important relationships you’ll have is with your boss. Your boss will help you with your career, projects and even new opportunities down the road. Managing and building that relationship in the most successful way is beneficial to your career and company. Be sure you set the foundation and agree on common goals to ensure you are aligned. Then take an active role and communicate on what you need from each other to gain success. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what your boss likes, dislikes and how they prefer to operate. Align and adapt your work style to theirs, and remember that when disagreements arise, direct and open dialogue is best.
- Cultivate Your Personal Brand – According to Daniel Threlfall of UpCity, in today’s digital world, your personal brand is how you are seen, understood, and evaluated based on the image you project, the content you create, and the message you convey. Building a personal brand builds trust and credibility, can increase your perceived value and can attract new opportunities to you. When setting out to grow your personal brand, think about what values you stand for. Figure out what you want to achieve for your brand and who you want to attract. Determine what kind of content you want to use to create a dialogue, what you’re knowledgeable about, and how you’ll communicate that message. Lastly, start slow, but commit to spending 20 minutes every day to cultivating your personal brand.
These were just a few of the ways the Watermark Women’s Conference is supporting women in advancing their careers. I hope to see you at next year’s event!