Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Ready. These were all the emotions I felt as a boarded my flight to Orlando for my first ever NAWIC Annual Conference (AC). I had been to two Northeast regional conferences, but I knew this was going to be different. I was now surrounded by over 400 women from across the country. However, our goal was still the same, to learn, grow and empower each other.
The only word I have to describe the conference is amazing. National President (and Northeast member) Catherine Shoenenberger put on an incredible experience. There were various education sessions, that varied from personal development, such as time management and emotional intelligence, to workplace development, including promoting your skills in job interviews and tips to succeed in a male dominated industry. Catherine and Debbie Lesar also brought members up to speed with the rules of how a board meeting should run.
Linda Swindling opened the keynote luncheon by asking “If You Aren’t Hearing ‘No’ You Aren’t Asking Enough”. When I walked into the luncheon, Catherine saw me and brought me right to her center table to sit with her. Kayleen McCabe wrapped up the conference with an energetic discussion on how she took her passion for the trades and made it a career (with a TV show along the way), as well the importance of getting people into the trades.
Friday night was all about getting dressed up and attending the gala dinner and awards ceremony to celebrate the success of women in the industry. The after party was wild, a dance floor with three DJs, everyone dancing the night away. How were there three DJs in one room? It was a silent disco! Once in the room, everyone put on a pair of headphones and jammed out to the tunes of their choosing. Once you took off the headphones, all you heard was feet shuffling, laughter, and singing at the top of their lungs.
This conference bought us into a new NAWIC year with the installment of a Dove Sifers-Putman as President for the coming year. Just like the Friday night light party, she is striving for NAWIC to be the power in the room and be the power in your success this year.
I left the conference feeling motivated, empowered, ready to succeed and looking forward to next year’s AC in the ATL.