What to Expect from the Virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women

Massachusetts Virtual Conference for Women 2020 Keynote Speakers featuring Awkwafina, Alicia Keys, and Doris Kearns Goodwin

We’re just over two weeks out from the first-ever Virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women on December 10th, and we’re busy putting finishing touches on a program that will help you feel inspired, empowered, and connected!

Keep an eye out for our emails over the next two weeks—they’ll contain important information about how to participate in this year’s Conference, including the Conference login link and instructions.

For now, here is an overview of what’s in store this year:

Getting There

No need to set up a carpool—just stay tuned to your email! We’ll be sending attendees Conference login details on December 3rd.

If you registered with your work email, please ask your IT department to allow messages from [email protected] and [email protected] through your company firewall. If our emails are blocked, you may not receive your login information.

If you or a colleague misses an email, all attendee messages will be posted on our website under the “Already Registered” button.

Understanding the Schedule

Just like our in-person event, this year’s Conference consists of two keynote sessions, three breakout session time periods, and an Exhibit Hall full of booths and bonus programming (like virtual career coaching & mini-sessions).

* Note that all times listed are Eastern.

Keynote sessions—featuring Awkwafina, Alicia Keys, and Doris Kearns Goodwin—will be viewable only on Thursday, Dec. 10th, at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
On-demand replay of these sessions will NOT be available.

Breakout sessions will air at their scheduled times on Dec. 10th—11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:25 p.m.—and then be available on demand until Friday, Dec. 18th at midnight.

Please note, live Q&A with breakout speakers will only occur at the above times on Dec. 10th. The Q&A will be recorded, however, and available on demand through the 18th.

The Virtual Exhibit Hall opens at 8:00am on Dec. 10th, and remains available to attendees through the 18th. Many Exhibit Hall offerings—including booths with interactive office hours, Learning Bursts, and more—will be available on demand until Friday, December 18th as well.

How to Network at a Virtual Event

Because connection is more important than ever this year, we’ve worked hard to put together a series of six new networking opportunities for virtual attendees, as well as a Virtual Networking Guide to help you make the most of our online event. Thanks to our Official Networking Sponsor Cisco for underwriting these efforts!

Opportunities include:

  • Facilitated networking discussions on Dec. 10th via live videoconference. (Sign up in the Cisco Networking Lounge starting at 8am – space is limited, so register early!)
  • Peer networking chat groups, organized by topic and available in the Lounge throughout the week.
  • Public breakout session chats, allowing attendees to communicate with one another and with speakers during breakout sessions.
  • Private and group messaging available from every room in the virtual conference environment.
  • Take advantage of Exhibitor Office Hours and the Virtual Career Fair, where you can network with companies in realtime.
  • Smart Matches—a new MassWomen app feature that makes finding the right connection easier.

The Virtual Exhibit Hall

We’re happy to say we’ve managed to bring the most popular elements of our Exhibit Hall online! As usual, the Hall is organized into pavilions packed with offerings for you to explore:

  • Connect with companies looking to hire women like you during the Virtual Career Fair throughout the Pavilions from 8:00–10:00 a.m. and 3:00–5:00 p.m. on Conference Day.
  • Sign up for one-on-one career coaching and résumé review in the Career Pavilion sponsored by MFS Investment Management—starting at 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 10th.
  • Shop for holiday gifts and support women-owned businesses in our Women-Owned Business Marketplace Dec. 10-18.
  • Grab a Good & Gather recipe at the Target Lifestyle Lounge and take a breath at the Hologic Retreat inside the Health & Wellness Pavilion presented by Hologic.
  • Hear speakers read from their books and shop in the Conference Bookstore sponsored by Liberty Mutual (free shipping!) inside the Education & Innovation Pavilion.
  • Join a LinkedIn expert and a corporate recruiter on Dec. 11th and 14th at 12 p.m. for LIVE Q&As!

Stay tuned for our next email, which will contain login instructions, a tour of the Virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women, and more important information!

Remember, if you registered for multiple attendees, you need to enter their names and email addresses into your registration account so they receive important attendee communications.

* For questions regarding your registration, please contact [email protected]


Posted in Latest News Tagged , , , |

2020 Conference Playlist

Check out our new playlist to hear all the music from the Conference!

Posted in Latest News Tagged |

Keynote Extra! Afternoon Cookie Break with Joanne Chang

Join Joanne Chang for an afternoon cookie break in the keynote room from 3:30-3:45pm

Join James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Joanne Chang for an afternoon cookie break in the keynote room as she makes us her famous melted snowman cookies!

Joanne Chang -  Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes



1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1-1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 large marshmallows
Royal icing (recipe follows) – white, black, blue, orange

Royal Icing

1 pound (455 grams) confectioners sugar
3 to 4 large egg whites (90 to 120 grams)
Black, orange, blue food coloring


Stand mixer with paddle attachment
Rubber spatula
Circle cookie cutter
Mini offset spat or small butter knife or small spoon
Rolling pin
Wire cooling rack



If you’re baking the cookies the same day you prepare the dough, heat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon), beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle itself a few times; the sugar and butter love to collect here and stay unmixed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Again scrape the bowl and the paddle to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

Mix together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt and toss to combine. Turn the mixer to low speed (or continue to use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand) and slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Stir until the dough is completely mixed, about 30 seconds.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap the dough entirely in plastic, pressing down to form a disk about 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour, until it firms up enough to roll out. (You can also store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month at this point. If frozen, pull the dough out of the freezer the day before you want to use it and let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before using and let it sit at room temperature and then proceed as directed.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly flour both your work surface and the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Keep both the work surface and the dough floured—if at any point your dough is sticking, sprinkle on a little more flour and keep rolling. Use round cookie cutters or the rim of a water glass (about 2 1/2-inch in diameter) to cut out cookies. Place on a baking sheet. Cut out as many cookies as you can and then re-roll any scraps and cut out more cookies. If the dough is soft and warm and difficult to roll, wrap the scraps in plastic and refrigerate the dough until it firms up enough to roll again. Bake in the preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale to light brown in the centers. Let them cool on the sheet until cool enough to pick up with a spatula, around 30 minutes, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Place the cookies on a work surface and using a small spoon mound a spoonful of the white icing onto the cookies and let it spread naturally towards the edge of the cookie. Let some of it fall off the cookie and don’t worry about spreading the frosting all the way to the edge. Let it pool and drip organically so it mimics melted snow.

Fill the piping bags with the blue and orange and black icing. Snip off the very tips of the piping bag so you are able to pipe a thin line. Use the blue bag and pipe a large loop on the white icing to mimic a scarf- make sure the loop of the scarf is larger than the base of a marshmallow. Use the black frosting to make buttons down the front of the snowman. Use the black frosting to make two eyes on the marshmallow. Use the orange frosting to make a nose on the marshmallow. Put a little orange frosting on the bottom of the marshmallow so it acts like glue and adhere the marshmallow to the cookie by placing it within the blue scarf loop. Repeat with the rest of the cookies and frosting. Be creative! Have fun with the faces and colors. Let the frosting dry completely. The cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Royal Icing

Using a sifter whisk the confectioners sugar into a large bowl. Whisk in about 3 egg whites to make a stiff paste. Add the remaining egg white bit by bit until you get an icing that is stiff but spreadable, with the consistency of peanut butter. (You may not need the entire last egg white.) Divide the frosting in half and set aside half of the frosting to cover the snowmen. Divide the other half into thirds and whisk in black, orange, and blue into each remaining third. Proceed as directed above.

This recipe is courtesy of Joanne Chang‘s book, Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes.

Posted in Latest News Tagged , |

Courageous Conversations: Skills for the Brave New World of Work

Female professional making a video call in office

As a nation we find ourselves at a tipping point around race, gender and power. So, how do we mobilize and ensure positive change within our work lives and communities? Trish Foster and Yaro Fong-Olivares from Bentley University join us to offer actionable tools for having courageous conversations – dialogue that is reciprocal, respectful, compassionate, honest and open. This episode will provide you with a framework for how and when to have these conversations. This conversation will help you to overcome feelings of discomfort and fear, and obtain skills to change how we communicate so that power is equitably distributed.


Read More

Posted in Podcasts, Embrace the Unknown, Communication Skills, Success & Leadership, Innovation, Women Amplified: A Podcast from the Conferences for Women Tagged , , |

An Executive Coach Shares Her Hard-Won Insights into Finding Your Voice, and Strength, in 2020

Charmaine McClarie

One truth about tumultuous times like these is that it can be difficult to get a sense of perspective—the kind that allows you to take a bigger view than the day’s headlines and begin to find your voice, your strength, and your role in a changing world.

That’s why, this month, we are happy to share insights from an intimate conversation with Charmaine McClarie, an executive coach and communications expert who has helped many women and people of color find their voice, their strength, and their way to the C-suite.

McClarie shares her reflections on what we might learn from Covid, the awakening to racial injustice, and political turmoil. She also shares thoughts about what she calls our basic need—to be seen and heard—and why there may be a greater opportunity for that now than ever.

Excerpts from McClarie’s conversation with the Conferences for Women, which took place before Election Day, follow. They have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

On Learning from Covid

  • “One of the things I said when we went on lockdown was that my meditation and prayer is that the world would get quiet enough to hear whatever the lesson is in all of this.”
  • Part of what has been revealed to me is that, as I always say, the universe provides me with ample opportunity to practice what I say I believe. So, if I say I believe in humanity, this time gives me ample opportunity to put that into practice.”
  • “Two things come from this: One is I try to be grateful in every moment, even though that is really hard now. And two, I ask myself: How do I heighten my humanity in the midst of this? My work, helping people be seen and heard, has been a driving force, and I see the need for that now more than ever.”

On the Awakening to Racial Injustice

  • “The American public, particularly white Americans, think there is this profile of the kind of black people who are stopped by the police: that they look or sound a certain way, or drive a certain kind of car.”
  • “But I have been stopped by the police going down a highway and had to lie on the ground for 45 minutes with my arms behind my back, in a suit and silk blouse, while they searched the car and could find nothing.”
  • “Another time I was coming home from dinner with my husband who was asleep with his seat pushed back. I was making a turn off the freeway, and the police stopped me. My window was jammed and they were yelling and shouting at me. I kept my hands on the dashboard. I know the drill. Then my husband woke up and pushed the button so his seat came forward. The cop saw him and said, ‘Oh, I am so sorry, sir.’ My husband is white.”
  • “I have a client who is a white CEO. She asks me what can I do? I said: “Who are you going to put on your board? If everybody looks like you, there is a problem.”
  • “Sometimes I hear people say this [confronting racial injustice] will help black people. No, this will help all of us.”

On Learning about Others in Divisive Times

  • “We all have to check ourselves every day. I have to check myself every day. Where is my ism? How do I relate to otherness? Where am I projecting that?”
  • “Life is uncomfortable and awkward. It also provides an opportunity to create connection and a sense of community. To me, power is grace—opening up to bring people in. This is the way to create community.”
  • “Curiosity is at the core of this. You are going to keep somebody as ‘other’ if you are not curious about them.”

On the Need to Be Seen and Heard

  • “The whole premise of my work has been to help people find their voice—because there is power in our voice and our story. When you know who you are, you can stand in a place of strength and you can do what is necessary to be heard. It is our most basic need.”
  • My thing is: What is the narrative that I am perpetuating, that I am holding onto because it makes me feel good and doesn’t rock my world? Where is it that I am so fragile that I have to hold onto a story? That’s the place where you really need to work and explore.”
  • “I believe particularly for women and people of color now, there is a window of opportunity. In the virtual world, it is easier than ever to fall through the cracks. But also, if you learn the skills, you can push the doors wide open.”

Charmaine McClarie, a speaker at the 2020 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, is founder of the McClarie Group and creator of the Executive Success Principles®.

More from the November 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Communication Skills, Transitions, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership Tagged , |

Massachusetts Conference for Women Donates $285k to Women-Owned Restaurants

young Asian female cafe owner in front of service counter with message congratulating women-owned restaurant grant recipients

To aid women business owners in an industry that has been badly battered by the economic effects of the pandemic, the Massachusetts Conference for Women was able to donate $285,000 in grants to 57 women-owned restaurants across the state in an initiative with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Show your support by offering your patronage!

Grant Recipients Include:

1640 Hart House
Apple Barn Cafe
Asmara Restaurant
Boston Harbor Distillery
Bukowski Tavern
Cheff’n & Eetinn
Coco and the Cellar Bar
Daddy Jones Bar
Daily Harvest Cafe
Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
Eagle Brook Saloon
Eastside Grill
Fort Hill Bar and Grill
Fox & the Knife
Galliford’s Restaurant & Tavern
Ginger Exchange
Harrington’s Pub
Heritage of Sherborn
Herrell’s Ice Cream
Johnny’s Luncheonette
Little Pecan Bistro
Mad Hatter
Mei Mei Restaurant
Moonshine 152
Mr. Dooley’s Boston Tavern
Naked oyster bistro and raw bar
Northampton Brewery
Nuovo Restaurant
Piccadilly Cafe & Deli
Quicks Hole Tavern & Taqueria
Saltie Girl
Soleil Restaurant
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Suya Joint Inc
Sweet Tomatoes Pizza
The Casual Gourmet
The Farmer’s Daughter
The Independent
The Other Place Pub
The Pearl Seafood Grill and Raw Bar
The Rivershed, Salt Society
The Star Drive-In
The UXLocale, L.L.C.
The Vegan Nest Café
Tipping Cow Ice Cream
Val’s Restaurant
Venezia Restaurant
Villa Mexico Cafe
Woodstar Cafe, Inc.
Worthen House Cafe

Learn more about the Massachusetts Conference for Women’s women-owned restaurant grant initiative by checking out our press release.

Posted in Latest News Tagged |

Feedback Doesn’t Have to Hurt—with M. Tamra Chandler

M. Tamra Chandler

Many of our beliefs and ideas about feedback are incorrect and counterproductive and have been long distorted by our experiences. Feedback doesn’t have to be a dirty word that brings up feelings of self-doubt. Our ability to give and receive feedback can take our productivity to another level, especially with the added complexities of communication in the virtual environments we still find ourselves in.

In this episode, M. Tamra Chandler, the co-author of Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) will explore how you can recognize—and minimize—the negative physical and emotional responses that erode trust and shut down communication. Learn how to better give and receive effective, focused and fair feedback – and put these ideas into action right away!


Read More

Posted in Podcasts, Life on Your Terms, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Communication Skills, Job Advancement, Women Amplified: A Podcast from the Conferences for Women Tagged , |

Suze Orman Has Some Advice for You: About Money, the Future of Work, and More

business woman reviewing income and expense report on computer while crunching numbers on a calculator

In a recent exclusive interview with the Conferences for Women, Suze Orman—America’s best-known financial advisor to women—was characteristically outspoken money, the future of work, and more.

Orman, the author of 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and winner of two Emmy Awards, recently came out of a short-lived retirement to again advise women about a changing world.

“We are entering a new phase of how one works within this world that has absolutely transformed itself over the past year. It is very important that we have learned some vital lessons, as we are hopefully putting 2020 behind us,” Orman said. She predicts that financial markets will begin to stabilize in February or March of 2021 but emphasizes: “We are not out of this by any means yet. You better pay attention. This is time for you to really take heed.”

Here are highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for brevity and clarity:

Lessons from “the financial pandemic” of 2020

  • “The first thing we’ve learned is that it’s not how much money you make; it’s what have you done with money you’ve made?” Orman said. “An eight-month to one-year emergency fund should be your #1 priority. If you haven’t already started to do that, you haven’t learned anything from what we went through.”
  • “The next priority is to get out of any credit card debt. But do not close down your credit card accounts. Because of emergencies like this, you want to know you can put things on credit; but you can only do that if you have credit.”
  • Third, you have to plan escape routes from a financial hurricane—where can you access money if you’ve used up your emergency funds and credit lines. In this case, if you own a home, Orman says, your next step should be to take out a home equity line of credit but don’t use it unless you need it.

The future of work

“You have to face reality and think about the chances that your job is going to be replaced. Don’t be so naïve to think that you’re not irreplaceable—because if you think corporations have not learned how much money they can save from not having individuals come in, I have a bridge to sell you. A lot of companies realize they can do just as well with fewer people and are cutting across the board.”

“That means you have to make the most intelligent financial decisions you have ever made.” Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you fully funding your retirement?
  • If you own a home, do you have a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year one?
  • Are you taking advantage of refinancing at lower interest rates?
  • Are you downsizing?
  • Are you making every sensible move can make? Are you positive?

Be smart about money and your relationship

“When I was on CNBC, we would get 10,000 emails a day and let me tell you: There are money fakers out there [who say one thing and do another.] If you put your future in their hands it’s the biggest mistake you can make.”

“Ladies if you are in a relationship—the other person’s sex does not matter—you better go over your finances together at least every month. Check your FICA [the money that is taken out of workers’ paychecks to pay older Social Security retirement and Medicare] twice a year. Look at your credit scores. Have any accounts been opened up that you didn’t know about?”

“And, you better know what to do if you get divorced. Know a credit card cannot be shut down if the balance is not paid in full. I’ve heard of men who say I will pay it off and three years later you get a knock on the door saying your ex-husband filed for bankruptcy and never paid off the money and now you owe it.

“The same is true if you own a home together and the loan is in both names. If he is keeping the home, he has to buy out.”

“All of you better understand money and every move that you make with it. And what’s the best way to do that?” Orman recommends subscribing to her podcast, Women & Money.

Conquer the 3 internal obstacles to wealth—through action

“Fear, shame, and anger are the three internal obstacles to wealth because when you come from a place of fear, you don’t check your statement. When you make a move in the stock market because you’re afraid, you sell at the wrong time and buy at the wrong time.”

“When you have those emotions running, you will always make mistakes. So, you may not like what I’m saying. But the only way to conquer your fear is through action. All those credit card statements you are afraid to open? Go open them and call the credit card company and tell them you can’t make the payment. Or, if you know you probably won’t be called back to your job but are just waiting to see: Take action right now.”

Finally, do not think of yourself as a victim

“Don’t tell me can’t do anything because you have too much on your plate. If you do, get a bigger plate. Do you want to think you are a victim of circumstances? Fine but not on my watch because you are just wrong. You are one of the most powerful forces God ever put on Earth. Stand in your power, stand in your truth. Face your obstacles and overcome them.”

Learn more about Suze Orman. Tune into her conversation on the latest episode of Women Amplified. And check out:

More from the October 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Financial Fitness, Transitions, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities Tagged , |

Suze Orman—How to Create a Financial Roadmap for a Lasting Legacy

Suze Orman

Living in the midst of a global pandemic has forced many of us to think about our legacy and face our mortality much sooner than planned. How you set up your finances for your family to navigate short- and long-term will be a part of your legacy—for better or worse. As unsettling and uncomfortable as it may make us feel, it is something we have to deal with now—avoidance won’t make it go away.

In this important and timely episode, America’s most recognized expert on personal finance, Suze Orman, will arm you with tools and motivation to summon your warrior within, embrace this as an amazing opportunity to create a financial roadmap, and protect yourself and your loved ones.

+ Keep scrolling for a special discount on some of Suze’s most popular offerings!

Read More

Posted in Podcasts, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Financial Fitness, Transitions, Women Amplified: A Podcast from the Conferences for Women Tagged , |

3 Ways Employers Can Support Women (and We Can Support Ourselves) Now

Tracy Dumas

It’s no secret that working women are facing unsustainable new challenges this year. Many working mothers have lost access to good childcare. Many working women without children are taking on new eldercare responsibilities. And even those without new caregiving demands are burdened by the fears and loneliness of these times.

“Everybody’s lives have been upended. And when your life is upended, it is going to affect your work,” work-life integration expert Tracy Dumas recently said.

Indeed, women with caretaking responsibilities have already begun to drop out of the workforce at alarming rates.

So, what can employers do to help retain quality talent in all the many fields in which women are contributing to the society and the economy—in some areas, at rates of 50 percent or more of the workforce? And what can we do to take better care of ourselves in these extraordinary times?

In an exclusive interview with the Conferences for Women, Dumas, an associate professor of management and human relations at Ohio State University, offered the following suggestions.

What employers can do:

  1. Figure out how you can help with childcare. “Organizations can help by either looking into establishing smaller facilities that employees could use for childcare or providing subsidies—some kind of financial assistance to help employees pay for childcare.”
  2. Focus on deliverables, not schedules. “Be attentive to the limitations employees have and give them a longer rope instead of enforcing a regular workday. Just pay attention to the deliverables and be flexible.”
  3. Think ahead to develop smarter policies and practices. When we are on the other side of this crisis, life will be different than it was before. So companies should start thinking now about what childcare, eldercare, and schooling might look like; how that will affect their employees; and how they can develop flexible, supportive policies and practices.

What you can do:

  1. Ask your company for childcare help. “If your organization hasn’t stepped up to provide child care but has shown a willingness to help, ask for smaller childcare facilities or subsidies.”
  2. Set some boundaries on work hours. “We switched into this new mode with no warning or preparation. And many of us haven’t been intentional about where and how to set boundaries about working at home.” Now, is the time to do that. Think about what you want your working hours to be – and when you can switch off and relax. “Research shows that having time to switch off allows you to come back to work more energized and better able to engage.”
  3. Be intentional about where in your house you work. “If you haven’t previously set aside a space for work at home, this may be a good time to do it. I just did this. Before I had no strategy. I was sitting on the couch for working and sitting on the couch for watching TV. Now, I’ve spruced up my home office a bit and, in general, created more of a boundary to feel more like I’m switching gears. I’m getting up and going to work now. And now I’m leaving my laptop in the office and going to watch TV. It may seem minor but feels different.”

“It is beneficial for anyone with any given task or responsibility to have the opportunity to unplug and recover. There is a whole body of research in organizational psychology on the benefits of recovery—of stepping away and unplugging and allowing yourself to be immersed in something totally different or just plain old rest.”

In other words, in a world in which so much is beyond our control, setting boundaries about when and where we work is something that is in our control that can help us keep our strength and resilience going through this marathon challenge.


  • Want some timely virtual networking tips? Yai Vargas, founder of The Latinista, a national network of women and Latina professionals invested in professional development and career mobility, shares her thoughts on the latest episode of Women Amplified. Listen here.
  • Underserved young women are receiving financial and mentoring support this year as the first in their families to attend college—thanks to you and other members of the Conferences for Women community. Interested in helping? Learn more here.
  • Have you secured your ticket to the virtual 2020 Massachusetts Conference for Women? If not, learn more here.

More from the September 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Transitions, Life Balance, Health & Wellness, Goals & Priorities Tagged , |

Creating Your Authentic Personal Brand In These Times – with Yai Vargas

Yai Vargas

COVID-19 has greatly changed the way we network—requiring us to be more innovative than ever, especially with our use of technology.

So, how should you think about building a strong personal brand in this new environment? In this episode, Yai Vargas, branding guru and founder and CEO of The Latinista, offers actionable ways to create an engaging elevator pitch, have a strong presence on Zoom, effectively self-promote and forge powerful relationships so that you can accurately convey your unique value to your advantage now!


+LAST CALL Take our listener survey! (We’re giving away free tickets to make it worth your while!)

“It’s interesting, growing up as a Latina, an immigrant to this country, I was always taught to be very humble. To be grateful that I have a job, to just keep my head down, work really hard and someone’s going to notice me and I’ll eventually get a raise and a promotion. Well, it doesn’t necessarily work that way in Corporate America as I found out. You have to keep reminding your boss about everything that you’ve been accomplishing throughout the year, because at the end of the year when your evaluation time comes up, your manager’s probably managing 10 or 15 others. They probably don’t know all of the programs you’ve run and excelled at. ”Yai Vargas


This Month’s Guest:

YAI VARGAS is a leading multicultural marketing expert with a niche in building marketing strategies and community engagement programs for Fortune 100 corporations seeking to develop programming among their diverse employee resource groups. She offers expert advice, training and development around executive presence, personal branding, LinkedIn and feminine leadership in the workplace. In addition to being a LinkedIn guru and networking ninja, Yai established The Latinista where she gathers and empowers Latina professionals in New York City, Miami and Chicago to upskill in career and leadership development via dynamic workshops. @layai

Our Host:

CELESTE HEADLEE is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, Heard Mentality and We Need to Talk. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me MoreTalk of the NationAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @celesteheadlee


Additional Resources:

Posted in Podcasts, Life on Your Terms, Career Choices, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Goals & Priorities, Women Amplified: A Podcast from the Conferences for Women Tagged , |

Staying Calm In A Crisis: Tips From The Woman Who Faced Down Somali Pirates

Michelle J. Howard

When Admiral Michelle J. Howard was 12, she saw a show about people who attended U.S. military academies and realized that was what she wanted to do.

“You can’t,” her older brother said. “It’s closed to women.”She thought he was messing with her and went to her mother.

“He’s right,” her mom said. “But you’re only 12. You might change your mind. And, if you don’t and want to apply, you should apply. If you don’t get in, we’ll sue the government and take it to the Supreme Court.” Even if it is too late for you to attend, she added, it wouldn’t be for other women.

It proved a powerful lesson for the woman who went on to become the:

  • The highest-ranking woman in U.S. Arms Forces history,
  • Highest ranking African-American and woman in Navy history,
  • First woman to become a 4-star Admiral, and
  • Person in charge when the Navy faced down Somali pirates to rescue Captain Phillips (of Tom Hanks fame.)

We recently caught up with Admiral Howard to ask her advice about how to stay calm in a crisis and lead in these times of great uncertainty. Here are some highlights:

On keeping calm under stress

“My mother and father raised us to take a deep breath. Sometimes, you have to react in seconds—but honestly, not usually unless you’re in combat. I think most people do not give themselves time to breathe. I know it’s not easy but you’ve got to distance yourself from the information you’re receiving. It’s just information. It’s not going to kill you.”

On dealing with the unknown

“I would try to take time, and get my teams to take time, to think about what potential crises could be and then walk our way through how we would respond. If you are surprised by events, give yourself more time for your imagination to work. It’s the art of the long view: identify the worst, best, and middle case scenario. You will go down one of those three avenues or something in between.”

On the commitment to lead

“The most fundamental thing about leadership is you have to choose. You have to decide for yourself whether or not you want to be a leader. It’s not something you are just going to fall into. It has to be something that drives your passion—knowing: I am the right person to get this in a better place. I am the person to make this better.”

On stamina

“I read about women pioneers in the Navy and the 1800s and science; andI and tried to sort through the common characteristics of those who were successful in nontraditional roles. The stamina piece is pretty key: being not necessarily the strongest in the room but as fit as you can be because you need stamina for the journey.”

On traveling light

“A lot of trailblazing women had a wonderful sense of humor. If you can’t see the humor in your unique situation, you add more to your mental burdens. I talk about it as ‘traveling light.’ You could go another way and think: ‘Oh my gosh, I have all these burdens, I just can’t do it.’ You could spend a lifetime focused on all that pain and anguish. And, I suppose you could have a life of satisfaction that way. But you would be missing out on a life of satisfaction tied to success.”

On being yourself

“I have been asked to talk about leadership and women as leaders since I was a mid-grade officer. A lot of times people say talk about yourself. I say talking about myself may not help you. You be the best you. You’re not going to be able to do me right.”

On connecting with other women

“Women pioneers had quilting bees. It was not about the quilt. It was about hooking up with other women. The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the biggest quilting bee!”

LEARN MORE! Admiral Michelle J. Howard will join Golden Globe Award-winning actress Awkwafina, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and more amazing women at the 2020 virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women.



  • Anti-Racism: Skills for the Workplace Now. “Anti-racism is a lifestyle that we’re constantly committing to. You have to be anti-racist in the workplace and in your personal life, too…it’s an active belief system in all parts of our lives,” Britt Hawthorne said in a conversation presented by The Massachusetts Conference for Women, The Boston Globe, and State Street. Watch it here.
  • Best of the Archives: Check out the newly released sessions on Best Breakouts, an audio series featuring timeless insights from our archives. Listen here.
  • Highlighting a friend: The Harvard Business Review‘s podcast Women at Work is a trove of information and support for moving your career forward. Catch up on five seasons of conversations on HBR.org or wherever you listen to podcasts, and the team will be back this fall with more stories, interviews, and advice.

More from the August 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Networking, Life Balance, Negotiating, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement, Innovation Tagged , |