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Inaugural Women's Leadership Conference Declared a Success!

Mon, Oct 7, 2013

Columbia, Maryland

Last week we held our inaugural Women's Leadership Conference. It was awesome!

From six impactful speakers, one panel, networking, cooking demonstrations (yes, we learned to fix the perfect Turkey dinner!) and a beautiful opening reception outdoors overlooking the rolling hills of VA, this conference was like no other.


The conference began with a session on Strength Finders 2.0. Prior to the session participants took an online assessment to determine their key strengths.  Laurie Maddalena told us how important it is to build our teams based on strengths, the unique combination of talents, knowledge and skills that help you do what you do best. Session attendees raved saying "Focusing on my strengths, rather than weaknesses will make me a better manager."


Now, we can all use a boost in the financial fitness arena, right? Of course. Thursday kicked off with Michelle Singletary giving us the steps to owning your finances and not letting them own you. She told us about the $100 holiday. Yes, it can be done. You can have a great holiday season and only spend $100. It is more about the reason for the season, it is cheaper to spend your time and not your money. Bake cookies with the kids! Host a brunch for your friends instead of exchanging gifts.  Michelle provided practical examples for managing finances.

Later Patricia Jensen walked us through an exercise on building your network. You learn a lot about a person when you just take five minutes to get to know them. You never know what famous people your neighbor, co-worker or friend may know. Building your professional network will open so many doors and land you that perfect opportunity you are waiting on. 

Teri Yanovich closed the first day of education with an inspiring presentation on "Becoming a Genuine Leader". As a former Disney employees, she provided engaging and relevant examples of effective leadership.  Everyone left the session with ideas and actions steps that could be implemented immediately.

Thursday left attendees enriched and ready to practice their newly found networking and leadership skills.

After the education ended—the fun began! Attendees learned to make roasted butternut squash soup and stuffing packed with sausage and fresh herbs with Lansdowne Executive Chef. We laughed, ate good and went to bed full on food and education.


Friday morning began with panel discussion with three women credit union executives: Lisa Baron, Theresa Freeborn, and Maria Martinez.  The panel was moderated by George Hofheimer of the Filene Institute.  The conversation covered many issues from the disproportionate number of female CEOs of large credit unions to work/life balance.  The candid responses from the panel was inspirational.

The conference ended with a high-energy and dynamic presentation about embracing diversity.  Veronica Cool demonstrated the importance of showcasing your uniqueness and not to "judge a book by its cover".  The overall theme was that each of our life experiences, traditions and customs bring something to the table. 

Overall, this was a much-needed retreat for women, we learned how to grow our networks, find our strengths and talents, recognize and embrace diversity, manage our finances and get creative with our spending, as well as gain a boost of encouragement from a panel of female credit union CEOs.

Here is what a few of the participants said:

"Women's Leadership Conference is #1."

"All women can benefit from this conference."

"Necessity for all women in leadership."


"This is so life changing."


Check out the pictures below and be on the lookout for the 2014 Women's Leadership Conference next Spring.