Kristen Van Nest recently wrote an interesting article for VentureBeat called “For Women, Conferences can be a Powerful Career Booster.”
Van Nest wrote that the women she has spoken with have found “models and mentors within their fields” through conference participation.
The downside, though, is that “they also spoke of how few women are taking advantage of these opportunities.”
That’s unfortunate, because “conferences provide great opportunities for women to share advice, forge supportive relationships and build their network,” Van Nest said.
In fact, columnist Tim Sanders says sharing knowledge is one of the five best gifts for others.
“Knowledge is a resource that grows as you give it away,” he wrote in our June issue. “Too often, we think of generosity in material terms, but in fact, one of the most generous things you can do is to mentor someone during his or her time of opportunity. You should always have an active mentee. Look for someone in transition, usually taking on a new task or role, where your insights can help.”
Conferences provide an excellent opportunity to share knowledge, become a mentor or mentee and educate yourself.
“Education is, by far, women’s most powerful secret weapon, and we have been preparing for a sneak attack for at least the last decade,” said educator and author Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. on Quintessential Careers. “In 1975, a majority of the college degrees awarded went to men. This was true at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, first professional and doctorate levels. By 2000, a majority of the associate, bachelors and master’s degrees were awarded to women, according to the Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research Letter.”
Hansen says that women are making serious inroads in the knowledge is power equation, and their best hope to crash through the glass ceiling is to keep doing what they’re doing.
“Consider informal ways of educating yourself through, for example, joining professional organizations, attending conferences and keeping up with trade publications in your field,” Hansen said.
Well, now, I believe we here support all three of those strategies. Won’t you?