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My Top 3 Takeaways from #TheArtOf Women in Leadership Conference

Executive Panel at TheArtOf Women in Leadership Conference

By Lisa Bull, VP of Employee and Leadership Learning, Ceridian

Let me say first up that there are more than three things that I took away from the two days that I spent at The Art of Women in Leadership conferences in Vancouver (click for highlights) and Calgary ( highlights). Hard not to when you’re surrounded by some of the world’s most intelligent and accomplished women! To say nothing of the hundreds of women who attended the events and asked thoughtful, insightful and sometimes provocative questions. I was so honoured to represent Ceridian and to have the chance to participate in the Executive  panels in each city. And, honestly, this was the best ‘assignment’ I’ve ever been given! Here’s what I learned.

  1. ‘You can’t have grace without grit’. Danielle LaPorte is a force to be reckoned with and her presentation in Vancouver took my breath away. She opened with beautifully crafted spoken-word poetry and then moved into an open forum, answering question after question from the 1200 assembled women. The theme of many of the questions was around how to stand up, be heard, and be respected. LaPorte suggested that it is often effective to combine a loving attitude with a degree of ‘fierceness’, and that it is possible and often necessary to add ‘teeth’ to one’s approach. As someone who is often concerned with being “nice” it was so helpful to be reminded that I could also bring some grit to my “nice”!
  1. Fierce determination is unstoppable – I have had the pleasure of hearing Diana Nyad speak several times and the power of her message doesn’t diminish. At age 64 she swam from Cuba to Key West Florida becoming the only person ever to accomplish the task without a shark cage (don’t even get me started on the sharks!). And, this was her fifth attempt to make this 53 hour journey. While it is unlikely that I will ever tackle such an epic adventure as Nyad’s, I know that I can learn from her attitude of determination and her unwillingness to give up.
  1. We don’t come across as we’d like to – And here’s why: according to Heidi Grant Halvorson we’re much harder to understand than we think we are! Despite the fact they we believe that our intentions are clear and our messages make sense, Halvorson says that others often do not hear what we’re hoping for them to hear. The great news? Halvorson offered some concrete strategies for improving how we’re understood. And the really great news is that you can access Halvorson’s powerful (and often humorous) presentation here – it’s well worth the watch!

For insight on women in business and for recommendations to address gender issues in your organization read my recent International Women’s Day blog. We address issues like this as part of s the Ceridian Women’s Network, a forum for the professional growth and personal development of employees focusing on the interests of women. We just recently hosted Neena Newberry for a #CeridianWomensNetwork presentation, “Self Promotion – a Powerful Leadership Tool”. It was a great opportunity for our organization to connect with and learn from each other. To learn more about #CeridianWomensNetwork and how networks like this  can serve to strengthen business relationships at your organization connect with me on:

Twitter: @LisaBull1      LinkedIn: Lisa Bull

Lisa BullLisa Bull is Vice President, Employee and Leadership Learning at Ceridian. As an experienced corporate training specialist Lisa has delivered training to hundreds of clients across Canada and has designed and developed customized training programs for a wide variety of corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations. Lisa currently leads Ceridian’s North American Employee and Leadership Learning Team and oversees all Leadership Training Programs and the Talent Excellence Program. In addition to the development and design of these Programs, Lisa shares responsibility for Ceridian’s On-Boarding Program and mentorship initiatives. As a manager, Lisa has worked in broadcast communications, organizational safety and Employee Assistance Programs. Lisa has a Diploma in Broadcast Communications, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters of Education in Educational Psychology.

Ceridian is a proud National Sponsor of The Art Of Women in Leadership Conference Series. The next stop is in Toronto on June 15. With names like Geena Davis, Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Jessica Herrin and Kirstine Stewart, it will be a day to remember and Team Ceridian will be there!

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