I watched from my seat as Linda Sarsour raised her fist in the air, walking towards the stage with Carmen Perez with a powerful anthem playing. At that moment my eyes began to water with overwhelming emotion. The second they began to speak at my very first Her Conference, I knew my life was going to change.
According to the website, Her Conference “is the leading career development conference for college women.” It was the sixth one and I decided, with a help from a friend recommendation, to attend for the first time.
Each keynote and panel impacted my life in one way or another. Here are a few that stood out to me:
Saturday Morning Keynote
On Saturday, the first keynote of the day was Women’s March National Co-chairs Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez. They discussed the power women have to create change. We were able to come together during the Women’s March and fight for issues we believe in. However, they brought up the importance of continuing discussions surrounding inclusivity and unity.
“We have the right as women to all have the opportunity to sit at the table.” – Linda Sarsour
I didn’t attend the Women’s March, but it made a big impact on my life. I felt honored to be in the presence of two influential women who’ve made the Women’s March possible and helped me question in my own life how I can stand up from women who feel oppressed, underrepresented, and powerless.
By the end of the keynote, Perez provided us with questions to think about:
“What tugs at your heart? What are you going to wake up wanting to do? Does it matter if you’re knocked down?”
Saturday Morning Panel: A Day in the Life: Entry-Level Editorial Positions
Since undergrad, I’ve been interested in going into editorial. Although my love for social media has increased, I was curious to know the daily lives of editorial assistants and take their advice into consideration.
As a writer, I found being an editorial assistant can improve my writing. I’ve struggled with getting my words across whether I have issues with grammar or run-on sentences. My future full-time position can help me understand my mistakes and strengthen my skills.
Aside from learning, I can keep myself busy in the meantime. The word side hustle played throughout the conference and Victoria Messina, editorial assistant at Popsugar said it best:
— Chelsea (@thewriterchels) July 22, 2017
Saturday Afternoon Panel: Closing The Confidence Gap: Strategies to Make Your Brain More Confidence-Prone
At first, Founder & CEO of The Brand Girls Rachel Bozsik was overwhelming. She had confidence many people aspire to have. However, despite her overly optimistic personality, she gave great advice on building your confidence.
If I can take away one thing from her talk, its turning our negative self-talk into a positive one. For many, including myself, our negative self-talks are the ones holding us back from achieving our goals. We have to learn to train our brains to produce positivity in order to create positive experiences and develop confidence in all aspects of our life.
Sunday Morning Panel: Social Superstars: How to Make Social Media Your Full-Time Job
Out of all the panels, I was excited for this one the most. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do. I’m interested in editorial, but I’m also interested in pursuing a career in social media. This panel basically solidified my choice.
I realized working in social media is so much more than scheduling posts and creating the perfect photo for Instagram. As a social media assistant/manager/strategist you wear different hats and touch upon different departments. Devin Alessio, social media editor of DVF explained the position perfectly:
— Chelsea (@thewriterchels) July 23, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Keynote:
Amani Al-khatahtbeth, founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com needs to be my best friend. Her speech was powerful, motivating, and informative. She left me wanting to continue on the discussion that was brought up before by Linda and Carmen.
We have to continue to create change and be an ally for individuals who don’t have the chance to speak up for themselves. As a woman of color, I should use my platform, my voice for social change. I can write my thoughts a hundred times, but I have to push them into action.
Amani brought up questions we should consider:
How can we empower ourselves?
Whose voice are we listening to, empowering, elevating?
If that’s the voice I’m listening to? What’ the voice that’s being silence?
Sunday Afternoon Panel:
Ann Shoket, author of The Big Life and former editor-in-chief of Seventeen was one of the reasons I wanted to a) be a writer, b) be apart of a magazine, and c) go to NYU. As someone who’s trying to figure out her path, it was amazing to be in the presence of someone who’ve made an impact in my career choices.
Her talk inspired me to consider my goals to be a reality. For a long time, I’ve been putting some of my dreams on hold, afraid to put in the work to make them happen.
In my previous blog post, I talk about my issue with accepting that life isn’t linear. For many millennials, including myself, we have many anxieties about our future. We continue to ask questions about our career, relationships, etc with a need for an answer. We believe our life needs to go a certain way, but Shoket debunked those fears:
“Those shoulds are the things hold you back…You has to let go on the way things should be.“
Her Conference put many aspects of my life in perspective. I can’t make things happen if I just sit and wait for it to happen. I have to start putting my goals into actions. I recommend anyone who wants to be inspired, motivated and/or at the moment feel hopeless to check out the conference next year. It’ll make a huge difference.
Featured Image: Her Conference Website