Last week, I had the exciting opportunity to participate in the Women in Conservation Leadership Summit hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. More than 300 women from 100 organizations, government agencies, and foundations participated.

 

We spend two days sharing, learning, and enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the birthplace of Harriet Tubman—a fitting setting for this group. The memories I take from the summit will stay with me for a long time, as will the lessons I learned. Three especially stand out…

 

#1 Share your story, even if your voice shakes

Everyone has a story that is important and unique. It can be scary sharing your personal story, passions, and vision. But being honest about your story and listening openly and with empathy to the stories of others is what forms deep connections. This ultimately brings us closer together and enables us to reach our goals. So, share your story, even if your voice shakes.

 

#2 Create a powerful circle of champions and mentors

Intentionally surround yourself with champions and mentors. Include in your circle others that need lifting up. Fortunately, my circle grew because I participated in the summit. So seek out opportunities to connect with supportive people to broaden your circle.

 

#3 The future is ours, now is the time to take charge

We are in the driver’s seat. Take charge. Be strategic. Decide what you want and what you are willing to give up to get you there. Create a personal vision, mission, and goals. Develop a plan for reaching your goals and share it with people in your circle to help keep you accountable. I know my new friends from Table 14 will hold me accountable for my short-term goals as I will for them.

 

Have you attended a conference that has broadened your horizons? Share your thoughts in the comments.