International Women’s Day 2019 is approaching this Friday (3/8) and as Maya Angelou once said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” This holds true as we continue to take action for equality. It aligns with “The Power of Us”—this year’s theme at the Watermark Conference for Women with over 7,000 women (and some men!) in attendance.
Women have come a long way in fighting for respect and having our voices be heard. But now, more than ever, we need to support each other at work to overcome the inequality we still face. In fact, according to a recent Census survey, women make up more than half of the U.S. workforce yet we make up less than 30% of U.S. tech jobs. At WePay, we believe culture comes from leaders, and our leaders are focused on maintaining a good gender ratio on various teams, including the engineering team.
I was fortunate enough to attend the conference and learn from speakers like Gloria Steinem, Dr. Brene Brown, Serena Williams, and Amanda Southworth, along with some of the women of WePay. By the end of the conference, we left feeling inspired and more importantly, empowered: empowered to do more, empowered to contribute more to the WePay culture, and empowered to be courageous.
One of my favorite sessions was the opening with Dr. Brene Brown, who reminded us that we are all storytellers and we are more courageous than we think. There is no courage without vulnerability. We make up stories that actually highlight our fears and uncertainties. “The story I’m telling myself” is created in the absence of understanding; a concept Dr. Brene Brown stressed to the audience as the one thing she wanted us to walk learning from her session. She encouraged us to find a partner that believes in shared work, shared care because women often are doing “double roles” as a leader at work and a mother at home. Until men are seen as equal at home, women won’t be seen as equal in the workplace.
Other takeaways? Let’s hear from the women of WePay who attended:
“Choosing Wonder Over Worry” was a breakout session hosted by Amber Rae and left me inspired. She challenged our discomfort and fear, specifically in the workplace and guided the group to reframe our relationships with fear, stress, and anxiety. A big takeaway was to use critical thinking to change the question from “Why?” to “Why not!?” when facing a decision. – Melanie
Being a compassionate, motivated, and empathetic leader doesn’t mean you’re not a strong leader. It is okay to make time for yourself because it is a balance. In the “Introverted Leader” session, I was reminded to focus on where I draw my energy as I become more of a leader. Second, this quote hit home, “you can only move 3 points on a scale, so figure out where you are a 7, and become a 10”. I need to focus on my strengths while seeing others’ strengths to help me ultimately become a 10. – Maral
After attending the “Budget for Life” session with Tiffany Aliche, I learned I need to retrain my mind on savings. “Your budget is your ‘say yes’ plan,” which to me means, I should think of my savings as not something being taken away from me, but for me giving back to myself. – Nghi
“Mind the Gap: Negotiation and Getting Paid” was an eye-opening session for me. I learned women are currently making around 70 cents on the dollar compared to men, and women of color are making even less. Listening to the panel of speakers share their own experience with negotiation not only empowered us, but encouraged us to shift our mindset regarding negotiation. We also received excellent tips and strategies on how to approach negotiations. – Marina
Some of the Women of WePay attending the Watermark Conference. They come from teams across the company including Risk, Marketing, Sales, Customer Delight, Engineering, HR and Legal.
Dr. Brown’s life hack “the story I’m telling myself” sticks out to me the most. We all know in theory that we should be kind to each other, give one another the benefit of the doubt and so on, but this is a simple blueprint for action that anyone can follow. I can’t wait to start using this at work and at home. – Sojeong
A powerful interactive session by Charmaine McClarie took a packed room through an exercise of communicating our own individual value in “How to Be Heard: Effective Communication for Career Advancement.” It was interesting to learn that most individuals will often say what they do during introductions. However, they missed articulating the value of what they do and as a result, made less of a lasting memory impact. Knowing that we are being seen for the value we bring to the table each day is not only a personal confidence booster, but it’s also a career booster. – Amanda
One of my takeaways is how we tend to overthink instead of taking the initiative to ask for clarification at that moment. Another takeaway was from the “Choose Wonder over Worry” session, where at some point, all of us worry about something in our life. But we should not let the worry take over. Instead, wonder what can happen by facing it. There is always something you can learn when you face it. – Smitha
As a working mom of two teenagers, I’m always juggling with competing demands. As such, I think of shortcuts and ways to hack the system. Dr. Brown’s talk showed that our brain makes up stories to cope, but if we train our brain to create stories filled with curiosities and engagement, in turn, those stories will temper our fear and generate encouragement and empowerment. – Rebecca
In the afternoon keynote, Serena Williams talked about the importance of taking risks and not getting boxed, but instead “shoot for the sky.” That really resonated with me, as we are capable of much more than we think. In the “How Women Rise” session by Sally Helgesen, she pointed out that the very habits which helped us succeed in the past work against us as we try to get to the next level in our careers. It is crucial that we break those habits. One takeaway from the session was not to fall in the perfection trap but to say “it is okay to make mistakes.” The energy was palpable at the conference; so many great stories were shared and I left feeling recharged and full of positive thoughts and ideas. – Aditi
The Women of WePay stand together in support of one another and allies of women. We recognize we need to share our opinions and be seen as a leader, no matter what our titles are. So here’s to strong women: may we celebrate them, may we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them.
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