this article is written from Jaimie Kenney’s point of view, an attendee of the ASA Women in Industry convention.
Several women from our team had the honor of attending the 2022 ASA Women in Industry convention held in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is a city I’ve never visited before and I was really looking forward to immersing myself in the land of bourbon and horse country. Home of Churchill Downs, the track which holds the largest horse race each year, The Kentucky Derby. I’ve been a horse lover my whole life and have followed the sport since I was a little girl. I knew the event was going to be an excellent offering of networking, learning, sharing and a little Kentucky flair.
Our first day consisted of attending a welcome reception and dinner. When I tell you the energy these 250 women brought, it was contagious. When I thought about attending a specific event for women, I wondered what will this be like? Will it be an open environment and women will be sharing and collaborating? Or will this be uncomfortable and be the typical “clique” that is usually cast upon women. Well, the answer to that is, it was amazing, life changing and I can’t wait to go back. The energy was infectious, women were lifting each other up, sharing stories, talking about this male dominated industry of plumbing and shattering all glass ceilings. Talk about GIRL POWER!
Dinner had the perfect amount of networking and the right amount of Kentucky flair. Kentucky butter cake was plentiful and the conversation was intense with passion for developing ourselves and learning from one another. I knew from this moment; this conference was going to be one for the books.
The next day consisted of a networking breakfast and several sessions for the general group. Two specific sessions stood out to me; the first being our session with Michelle Villalobos. We learned about incorporating positive traits possessed by women into selling. Operating ourselves with energy of abundance and channeling that energy into our daily careers. Most importantly, asking for the sale and making it clear what we are looking for in a relationship with our clients. Michelle talked about how hard this is for women in a male dominated industry, and the more you can foster this, the better you are and your client will benefit from it. Michelle also included how important it is to be present in the moment and to have a meaningful conversation. She also stated, “when we “need” something, we have no power.” Referring to not having control if we need something. Needing something doesn’t put you in the driver’s seat. What an incredible way to jumpstart this conference with Michelle opening up the day.
The afternoon speaker, Janine Driver, is where I feel like this conference became life changing for me. Janine entered the stage by walking in from the back of the room. Talk about a way to grab your attention right away! Janine has this powerful presence about herself, she is from Boston and the entire room could hear it in her voice and through her passion for coaching women. Janine has worked with the CIA, the FBI, and several law enforcement agencies. She is one of the few who got started being a body language expert and training law enforcement on how to catch a liar. Janine had us laughing, crying, and paying ourselves some serious moments of self-reflection. I will never do Janine’s talk justice in my summary but hopefully the impact hits you in a similar way.
Janine asked us many thought-provoking questions. Do you want to be right or effective? Will you own your mistakes to be respected? How often do you write an email and say “just” in your email? Hundreds of questions asked to have the ultimate self-reflection. She talked a lot about body language and what women can learn from men. She shared, “Women need to take up space, oftentimes, women minimize themselves when they are sitting, they try to take up as little room as possible”. She continued, “If you look at a man, they take up room all over the table and often you have to ask them to move their stuff.” Janine emphasized women should take note of these actions.
Janine also shared that body language can happen up to 5 seconds before thought. This is important because your body will respond before your brain can take over and tell it what to do. Next, she went into what certain body language cues mean, how we should interpret those cues, and what we need to be aware of in ourselves too.
To say Janine was captivating is an understatement but she totally won the entire room over and I will forever remember the connections I was able to glean while listening to her talk. If you’d like to know more, I highly recommend watching her TED talks.
Once Janine left the stage, we took a break and then moved into our breakout sessions. I really appreciated what the ASA planning committee did in making sure the program was great for women starting out in their careers and for women who were more developed and looking to develop themselves more. Once the breakout sessions concluded we had a break and then suited up for dinner at Churchill Downs.
We had the ability to network and talk to all 250 women throughout the social hour and dinner. We watched a video on the history of the Kentucky Derby and took in everything Churchill Downs had to offer. It was the perfect way to seal off an amazing day and to get ready for the book club review the next day.
Clearly you can tell I am a fan of Janine Driver, so myself and my colleagues attended the book club breakfast with Janine to be able to ask her questions about her book and anything else we wanted to know from her. It was an intimate discussion with 50 or so attendees and Janine. We went massively over our time limit and enjoyed every minute of it.
We finished out the conference with Kirsten Hawley. Kirsten talked about taking care of ourselves and how important self-care and self-kindness are. Kirsten talked a lot about her personal experiences and how being a mom really put her work and her family in perspective. She told a story about her son overhearing her talking to a neighbor. Kirsten talked about a trip she took to China for work and how she had so much fun and what a great trip it was for her. Along with her accomplishments with the client she was seeing. Her son overheard and was mad at her. He said, “Mom, I thought you hated working, that’s what you always tell me, but you actually had fun on this work trip!” It was at that moment that Kirsten reflected and changed the way she talked about her work to her children. And it was at that moment I realized I needed to have a positive relationship with my work and my daughter. And my daughter should know I do love my job but I also love her too. Such an impactful way to close out this amazing conference for me.
I am truly honored to have been able to attend and to be around this powerhouse group of women. I truly look forward to attending in Charleston next year as well.
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