Top 3 Reasons Why Women’s Conferences Are Essential - Amber Hurdle | Globally Recognized Leadership & Personal Branding Expert

Top 3 Reasons Why Women’s Conferences Are Essential

December 09, 2021

Last week I was the insanely lucky human who got to be the opening keynote for the Vacation Rental Women’s Summit at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans produced by VRM Intel and presented by Rented. VRM Intel and founder Amy Hinote, her Women’s Summit right hand and VP of Technology, Rebecca Chapman, and the entire event team produced an event like I’ve never personally experienced before…and I have personally planned hundreds and hundreds of large events and spoken at hundreds, to boot!

Things kicked off with my Velvet Machete Leadership keynote segwaying into a gospel choir entering through the back of the ballroom singing, “This Little Light of Mine” until they joined me on stage and I handed the stage over the stage to the emcee and master of fun, April Burns.

That was followed by a gospel brunch and more value, fun, and surprises than anyone could have anticipated. It was curated for the female experience down to the hand massages that were given in between sessions. And the swag bags? Only the Grammy’s could compare! I am just lucky the airport overlooked that my luggage was overweight on the way back…I know it was the swag bag contents that did it!

So now that you have a vision of the opolunant environment, let’s dig into the more practical reasons why such a women’s conference is essential. 

 

1-Networking is safer emotionally and physically

At a women’s conference everyone is encouraged to include everyone and you don’t have to worry about if you are sending the wrong message to the opposite sex. You don’t have to worry about sexual harrassment. You don’t have to worry about someone getting sloppy drunk and making an awkward move. You don’t have to play the mental games to measure every word, every action, every decision you make. You can simply just be. And when you can simply be, your heart, mind and soul can open all the way up to receive what is meant for you to experience at the conference.

 

2- You learn best practices by women for women

In my keynote we talked about personal branding and how to be confident and compassionate as a woman in business specifically. 

We talked about our inner voice, how being different is better than being the pretty one or the smart one, and how to own that uniqueness you bring to the table, which is totally applicable as a man, but I doubt the room would have oscolated from laughing to crying and back again if I didn’t use specific examples of what this looks like as a woman. 

The impact my words had will penetrate deeper because I spoke in a woman’s language. That is also why I choose to talk about confidence specifically as women in my book, The Bombshell Business Woman: How to Become a Bold, Brave, Female Entrepreneur. 

In Dr.s Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s keynote speech they talked about burnout, which included detailing the stress cycle, sexual health and the common traps women, specifically, fall in to try to stop being so stressed. 

Hint: you will not recover from burnout with green smoothies and bubble baths! But you can buy their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on Amazon to find the real answer.

COO of title sponsor, Rented,  Karen Fleck, told her story of being a woman in business who also grew up with a stutter. On top of her common female realities like sharing an idea that was dismissed only to have a man share the same idea to accolades twenty minutes later as if she didn’t JUST say that, she also contended with a disability along the way.

Y’all, she shared this experience, that had us in stitches, as she stuttered as she shared with us…with no apologies. It was one of the most epic keynote speeches I’ve ever heard, and it was because she was so freaking relatable.

And then there were ALLLL of the breakouts, too! It was so amazingly on target for this audience!

 

3-Women naturally create and nurture community

Leading up to the conference, women got to know each other online.

Then, leaving the conference I saw photos of women who did not know each other before the conference, and who left looking like they would be the best of friends for life

I’m not saying men don’t experience their bromance bonding. I’m just saying when women get ready in each other’s rooms for the 80’s party that night and Aquanet is filling the air as scrunchies are tightened? It’s a different kind of bonding.

And one of the best parts of the entire conference is that this community of women in vacation rentals came together to recognize the woman who created this reality for them. While Amy Hinote and her magazine highlights all of the good, bad and ugly of the Vacation Rental and Short Term Rental industry, who ever recognizes her? Well, the industry did, creating a new award, the Crusader Award, for all she has done for the industry. 

HERE link to the video if you are interested, as it would take an entire episode to explain how much she has done. 

Now why did this happen? Well, maybe a woman or two knows what it’s like to do a ton of the heavy lifting without a lot of thanks. And because we aren’t the best at tooting our own horns, it sometimes takes a woman recognizing another woman to get to experience that level of recognition.

Now, all of that said, I have to give a shout out to the men who were in attendance. You can certainly call them allies! Yet even they said it was one of the best conferences they have ever experienced. They spoke to how welcoming all of the women were and how inclusive they were, which was not the norm for an average conference. They spoke to the lack of the one-up mentality that men tend to come to conferences with or the “I have to be the tallest in the room” syndrome. 

In fact, Andrew McConnel, CEO of Rented, wrote about the experience and addressed the typical male question (which is fair), 

“What would women do if we had an all male conference?”

His response? 

It’s not that other conferences don’t invite or allow women to come (no more than the Women’s Summit failed to invite and welcome men, quite the opposite). Rather, it is that a man’s perspective, and almost inevitably a white man’s perspective, is the default perspective in planning, coordinating, and running our industry’s events, and most industries for that matter.”

So yeah, a women’s conference, by women for women, simply has a different flavor. We can be inclusive of men, while being able to relax and allow, and be served content in a way that can help us change our careers and our lives. 

My personal takeaway, separate from all of the amazing insights I’ve already shared? I was made to speak at women’s conferences! Of course, I have over and over again, in insurance, finance, construction…you name it. But this one? This one showed me just how important it is to kick off the energy of a women’s conference to help set the tone for the rest of the magic to happen. That is and always has been my jam. What a trip I get to do it for a living!

 

Do you regularly attend a women’s conference each year? 

Email me and let me know! Maybe we can compile a list of the must attend events for women!

Then be sure to share this with your friends and managers when lobbying for professional development dollars! 

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