This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
I was excited and honored to have been invited to attend this year’s Texas Conference for Women with Prudential. It was jammed packed with so much great information, networking, and inspirational women, that I wanted to make sure and share with you my key takeaways from the Texas Conference for Women here.
Closing the Gap
If you’re a woman, I don’t have to tell you about the wage gap that exists in what a man makes and what a woman makes. But just in case you weren’t aware, according to the Prudential, the average woman working full-time earns 79% of the income earned by her male counterpart. Crazy right?
Crazier though are the statistics shared by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, during her Keynote.
If that weren’t enough to make your mouth drop, she also shared that:
Ouch Sheryl, “low expectations?” But it’s true, in the words of the ever inspiring Maya Angelou, “when you know better, do better.” That’s why going to conferences like this, getting informed, and supporting other women, is so important.
That’s part of the reason I love partnering with companies like Prudential, who are there to support us along the way by providing financial literacy for all stages of life. From learning to budget, to investing wisely so that we can pay off our own college debt and help pay for our children’s college. They also have tips on how to help us take care of our parents as they get older, and build our own retirement along the way.
Yes, our own retirement. Did you know that according to Prudential, although we on average live 5 years longer than men, (we) retire with only two-thirds the wealth because women often don’t invest to the same degree as men? Say what? Now come on ladies, we can do better than that. The important thing is to start today, no matter at what level.
A key piece in helping us close the gap is building relationships and creating a network of support.
Regardless of whether you work a regular 9-5 or live the entrepreneurial life, you don’t have to navigate any of it alone.
Hard work and education of course are great starting points, but being able to engage with others at your job, in your field, or in the field you hope to be in one day, opens up opportunities for creativity, learning, innovation, relationship building, and even possible partnerships for future ventures. I know networking has opened up many doors for me in all aspects of my professional life, from training and development, to social media. The key, according to Janice Co (VP, Marketing and Strategy, Prudential Retirement), is to recognize the importance of these strategies, begin developing our skills in networking, negotiation, office politics, etc., and start using them to our advantage, as men have successfully done for many years.
So if you currently find yourself without a strong network to support you as you seek career advancement at your job, to grow your business, or as you think about starting a business, today’s as good a time as any to get out there and find your tribe. With social media, there’s no reason you can’t find someone in your field, to connect with, and/or to direct you to groups you can connect with. So stop waiting for everything to line up perfectly, because as Viola Davis said during her Keynote, the more important thing is to just show up.
Then remember to share our story and helps others along the way.
Of course none of this preparation and growth has any meaning if you find yourself burnt out, unhappy, and filled with disappointment or regret. So the biggest take away from this year’s Texas Conference for Women is the importance of self care. If you follow along you know that is a subject near and dear to my heart, and a big reason why I started documenting my journey here. The beauty of self care is that it doesn’t have to take much. It can be as simple as taking a few deep breathes to release negativity and realign with the present, or it can be learning the true value of saying “no” to others, so that we can say “yes” to ourselves.
New York Time’s best selling author Adam Grant summed this up best during his Keynote on Givers and Takers, where he encouraged the giver in us to protect the cost of our generosity. To do this, he encouraged us to find 2-3 forms of giving we enjoy and excel at, and do them as 5 minute favors. This not only creates a win win for everyone involved, but it creates a boundary to our generosity. Pretty cool huh?
And I’d encourage you to use this tactic in all aspects of life, from professional to personal. A big reason for that is that according to Prudential, “on average, women in the U.S. spend 28 hours per week on uncompensated work such as household chores – 65% more than the average for men.” Yes, even at home we get bogged down in what we think a perfect mother, wife, significant other, etc. should do, vs. honoring what we need to live a happy, balanced life.
Don’t get me wrong. If household chores are your jam, then by all means keep doing them. But if not, then delegate some of that off and use the extra time to concentrate on yourself, guilt free. Taking time to recharge, reinvigorate, and restore is not only the best gift we can offer ourselves, but the best gift we can offer to everyone around us. So take time to pamper yourself, read a book, attend a conference, etc.
To see some of the sights and sounds of this year’s conference and see some of the inspiration first hand, watch this video.
To see more of Viola Davis’ keynote, click here.
What key takeaways will you be incorporating into your personal, professional, and financial future?