Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to offer a panel discussion series for women on a wide range of topics because I don’t truly feel there are enough physical spaces for women to share, connect, and learn from one another. My goal was to bring topics to the table that definitely need more awareness and attention while at the same time celebrating the successes of other women who I have been fortunate enough to have on my panels. We are at the half way point and so I wanted to share with you the key take aways from our first two topics so far, Relationship with Food and Women in the Workplace, respectively.
When creating the panel series, I knew that the topics would not always be light as we discuss the tough stuff, but I have been overcome by emotion during both nights listening to the panelists share their personal stories and provide insight, and while attendees are able to open up and ask questions.
On September 25th, Sarah Berneche, Jamie Snow, and Shauna Mann discussed in depth their relationship with food. The major takeaways from the first panel included:
- disordered eating can come in all shapes and sizes and often times the ones struggling are the ones who seem to look “healthy” and can manage the rest of their lives
- if you are a friend or loved one of someone struggling, be there ready when they are - you cannot help someone who isn’t ready to receive help and support
- social media isn’t always what it appears to be - ignore the negative influences and stick to following accounts that truly inspire you in the most positive way
- food is not just consumed for fuel - it can be consumed from emotions, convenience, social gatherings - all sorts of reasons that we should not beat ourselves up over
- it is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to stop trying - not every day will be perfect, but we need to give each day our best energy
On October 16th, Lynette Lewis, Penny Wilson, and Nikki Huffman shared their experiences being a woman in more male dominant industries. The major takeaways of the night included:
- circumstances are never permanent - positive or negative, circumstances will always change
- there is no such thing as work-life balance - it is all about work-life integration - some days might be more of one than the other and that is okay
- never apologize for knowing stuff - if you know more than someone else, that is on them
- be so excellent that they can’t ignore you - regardless of you being a female or not
- empowering women is only the beginning, systems need to be changed and men also need to be properly educated on how to lift women up
My hope is that these panels are just the beginning of what should be a deeper discussion on the topics. Life is not always easy but that doesn’t mean that these issues and struggles have to be ignored and never spoken about. Be kind to one another because you never know what someone else might be going through. Lift other women up whether it be a compliment, offering advice, listening, or acting as a mentor.
Thank you to all those who have attended the first two panels. Walking away from each evening, I hope you can take some inspiration or motivation into your own lives, use it to help lift someone else up, and continue to work hard in discovering your best self.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.