There are around 1700 people gathered here to participate in the Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium. Most are women, but there are a few men in attendance. I actually wish there were more men here so they can listen to the perspective of women in service. All in all today has been very insightful and enjoyable day. Lorna and I have been taking copious notes so we can share as much of what we have been hearing here today to share with you.
After the opening remarks we were addressed by the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flourney. She spoke of mentor ship and being able to prioritize your time. She actually called it ruthless prioritization. It was interesting to hear her discuss having to take the time to pick and chose the items that were important and decide which ones could be put on the back burner.
We took time between speakers and during breaks so we could speak with the other attendees. I found that as I walked around I ran into many people I knew from previous commands. And as you have seen we have been recording some conversations for our blog.
I will skip talking about our breakout session because Lorna and I, humm, well we felt it wasn’t the right fit for us.
Lunch was a hearty salad and good conversation with our Navy and Coast Guard table mates.
Lorna and I were on pins and needles because we couldn’t wait to hear the speaker in the afternoon. Both of us were looking forward to hearing Jackie Joyner-Kersee. I have a warm spot in my heart for her because I watched her in 1988 during the Olympics. It was interesting to hear her say that a major moment for her was not winning the gold in 88 but getting the silver in 84. Not that the gold wasn’t memorable but she learned more about herself with the silver. She learned that she needed to make herself more mentally tough. She learned that she needed to trust her coach and trainer.
We listened to the Flag and General panel after Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The women on this panel were inspiring and well spoken. Though I was not able to relate to all of their experiences, they were very inspiring. My input to the coordinators was to out some E-9s on the panel next year. Hopefully they incorporate this feedback because it would give a great perspective to the Officers and give some good examples to the junior enlisted members.
After the panel the mystery guest speaker was revealed. I wasn’t aware the was a mystery guest speaker but she was a great addition. It was Nora O’Donnel the White House correspondent for CBS. She spoke of a topic that I am quite familiar with because a few years ago I read a book called The Gender Gap. It was shocking for people in the audience to hear that the United States ranks 70th in having women in political office. She spoke of how women are leading in getting education, but are not filling the leadership roles. And she asked an insightful question, how would world events be different if women were in leadership positions?
We ended the day with Courtney Lynch and Angie Morgan, the authors of Leading From the Front. They both served in e Marine Corps. They took their experience as leaders in the military and translated it to the corporate world.
Now that the sessions from the day are over, we are getting ready to do more networking! We’ll keep you posted.