Smart Woman Summit kicks off the next year for Smart Women in Meetings with empowerment and thoughtful conversations
The provocateur luncheon provided a safe and comfortable arena to conduct open conversations about the issues women in the meetings industry experience and discuss possible solutions that can help the community. To make the event special, memorable and interactive, Glenn Stress, VP Global B2B Events and Programs for Marriott International and sponsored by Maritz was there to facilitate a conversation with specialized slime. The pliable bright-colored substance served as a way to motivate brain activity and encourage creativity. It was a fun motivator for attendees to let go of any insecurities and access their inner freethinker.
The three topics discussed at the provocateur luncheon were “Employee Engagement,” “Stress and Sustainability,” and “Well-Being Leadership.” Our trained Smart Woman provocateurs led every table on one of these three subjects as our attendees filed in and picked the table with the topic that spoke to them. The women and allies then gathered back together to share thoughts and feelings on these very important industry topics.
Read More: Empowered Women Take Center Stage
The most common theme reported from the tables discussing employee engagement was celebrating the differences as well as similarities amongst your team. In relation to this point, groups highlighted the importance for supervisors was to “meet employees where they’re at.”
What does that mean? The Smart Woman community explained that not all employees communicate the same way, receive information the same way nor do they interact socially in the same way. It is the job of the leader to take the time to understand their team members as individuals and create a strategy for all attendees to contribute by meeting them in their own ways of communication.
Stress and Sustainability
The tables discussing this topic had ideas for both leaders and employees, yet the ideas for both sides centered around both personal well-being and mutual support and communication between management and the team.
Read More: Seeking Sustainable Venues
One of the most progressive ideas was the call to action for management to set an example of “normalizing well-being.” This includes several strategies—accepting the fact that a task can wait, relieving employees from their external or internal strive for perfection and allowing employees to set boundaries and take time for themselves. A noteworthy quote: “top management has to be genuinely and authentically invested in the well-being of their employees.”
Well-being and Leadership
Setting an example was the main theme of the tables focusing on well-being and leadership, as was holding leadership accountable for recognizing the need for well-being. Holding leadership accountable was repeated several times – for setting the example, demonstrating the ideal structure of a life/work balance and taking care of one’s mental health and physical well-being.
The most repeated sentiment when talking about leadership across all three of these categories was the encouragement for all of these ambitious, driven, intelligent and successful women to continue to inspire and mentor. Always be humble, but always take pride in your accomplishments and have confidence everywhere you go. Be a leader who comes to the table with open ears, an open mind and an open heart who can then return to the table with a solution. The well-being of an individual, a team and a company relies on “top management (being) genuinely and authentically invested in the well-being of their employees.”
The following gala at the Edison ballroom directly across the street was magical. Smart Meetings outdid itself with its aerialist, a woman in a birdcage and a woman on stilts with giant butterfly wings. All of the Smart Women in Meetings came together to celebrate new and previous Smart Women in Meetings Award Winners as well as Hall of Fame winners. With talented entertainers such as the aerialist, the woman on stilts, the woman in the birdcage and the improv group Water Coolers, the performances and the ambiance fit the Times Square vibe perfectly.
At the intersection of performance and meeting, comedy and musical, is recognition and meaning. Attendees at Smart Women in Meetings Awards Gala were treated to an opening medley by The Water Coolers crafted to remind them that they are not alone. From the debut of a number that harkened back to the days when meeting planning wasn’t thought of as an actual profession (sung to the tune of “I Will Survive”) to the joys of learning Zoom while fighting the glass ceiling (sung to the tune of “About Damn Time”), a trio of Broadway performers brought the energy of the stage to the issues the audience of meetings industry leaders has been living every day in a way they could recognize and chuckle about together.