Editor’s Note: Rhanee Palma, CDME, CEO of Rhanee Palma & Co., and Smart Women in Meetings Awards winner, speaks with Smart Meetings editor Morgan Saltz about her experience at Smart Woman Summit 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. Palma discusses the speakers, her most important takeaways and the sense of community she has built through her association with Smart Meetings and Smart Woman Summit.
Q: What was your experience like at last year’s Smart Woman Summit 2022 in Nashville?
A: I really got a lot out of it, this last time especially. I think the speakers were incredible. For me, I’ve been in the industry for a while, but I started my own company last year. So, it came at this really interesting time in my own entrepreneurial journey where I just wanted to be open and see what I wanted to do but I also knew it was time to move to that next phase. So, I don’t know if it was timing, or whatever it was, but a lot of people I spoke with had a very similar experience.
One thing I learned, and it wasn’t just from the speakers, but from engaging with so many different women in different positions, or different owners and different levels of experience. It was a mix between the type of women that were there…the understanding that everyone that was there was there for a purpose and wanted a community.
Q: Was there anything you learned from the speakers that you embraced and applied?
A: My main take away was from Amilya Antonetti. It’s funny because while I was trying to figure out what my niche is for my company and trying to fit myself in whatever category, somehow her presentation really got me. Especially when she talked about how many weeks we had left. A person who is 45 on average has only 1,200 weeks left. I thought to myself “Oh my God! What does that mean?”
Q: How did you implement that realization?
A: The first thing I looked at was my calendar and I was like, “what really makes sense?” I really reevaluated how I was spending my time…something just clicked and it made it clear for me which path I needed to be on. When I looked at my time, I was able to reorganize my clients in my brain and now I’m growing each of my clients.
Q: Why is it important to you to be a part of a community like Smart Woman?
(Palma and I discovered our shared backgrounds of living in Oakland and attending UC Berkeley where we both pursued education in gender studies.)
“It was a mix between the type of women that were there…the understanding that everyone that was there was there for a purpose and wanted a community.”
A: I think it comes from my UC Berkeley and gender studies background, you have that too right? Right! A lot of people say “I don’t use my degree for anything.” I use my degree all the time! So, when I graduated from university, I was very determined to make my mark with this degree because it’s what shaped me as an adult.
Q: What does mentorship mean to you and other attendees at Smart Woman Summit?
A: When you make it pretty far, as a woman in leadership, it gets pretty lonely up there. I’ve always been passionate about being a mentor to different people or helping other women find their path. I’m just grateful to be in a position where I can be helpful and learn from others as well.
Now I have a group of women leaders who are very motivated to mentor many other women so that they can join Smart Woman Summit. My growth is allowing other people’s growth…I’m excited to learn from folks while learning and growing and helping others to grow at the same time.
Q: What makes Smart Woman Summit with Smart Meetings unique?
A: There’s really something to be said about Smart Woman Summit and I really have a lot to take away from it. I like the community I’ve built. I know that because of the bond that we’ve developed during Smart Woman Summit, I can collaborate with others. I haven’t been in a space like that in a long time. I know that the people receiving these awards are of a certain caliber and they have a certain integrity and we’re like-minded people.
The way Smart Meetings structures their events is in a way that most women would want. I really enjoy my time there and I really feel like Smart Woman Summit is a very unique space that other people can’t create.