Our Future Leaders: Girl Power

Earlier this month, I spoke about feedback at the American Association of University Women’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. Admittedly, that’s a whole lot of words and a long acronym (AAUW’s NCCWSL!), but to be fair, sometimes you need a lot of words to convey the power of what’s happening. The collection of young women at this conference was truly extraordinary. They were student leaders from all over the country who were making time for themselves and investing in their future. The conference had sessions focused on all aspects of life after college – professional advancement, relationships, wellness, empowerment and equity. The leadership had done a terrific job of putting together a well-rounded mix of topics to reflect what these young women were after.

And while the speakers and sessions were terrific, they were nothing compared to the energy these young women brought with them. One thing in particular stood out to me. As the attendees were trickling into our session room, I was so impressed with how quickly they greeted each other and got into conversation. It’s a stark contrast to what I typically see at professional conferences – most people are on their phones and leaving plenty of seats between them and their fellow attendees. These women recognized the opportunity they had in front of them and seized it. And their excitement didn’t end there. We had a wonderfully engaging discussion as opposed to just a presentation, which is way more fun for me and the attendees.

I left our session feeling energized and hopeful for our future. If these women are an indication of what’s coming, we’re in good shape. Though we can’t just sit back and watch their success – it’s up to us to help, encourage and support them in whatever way we can. Sharing our knowledge, answering questions and being open to what they have to share will help us all ensure we’re headed down a brighter path together.

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