The 6th Annual West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference on April 8-9, 2011 was one of the best events to propel businesswomen forward of any I have attended. The conference opened Friday night with a screening of Fair Game at the Pacific Design Center, which detailed the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame in a political powerplay over the Iraq invasion. The screening followed by a discussion with Ms. Plame herself about the events depicted in the film. NPR’s Mandelit delBarco moderated the discussion that touched on the aftermath of the events depicted in the film, most notably Ms. Plame’s transformation of necessity from a deeply private individual to a very public person. After the formal discussion, the talk moved to the screening room lobby, where the conversations continued over delectable treats from the Urth Cafe.
The Saturday, the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference event began with a networking breakfast that asked participants to wear a tag with mentor or mentee on it. I balked at first, but realized quickly how great that is. At such event, the first few exchanges in conversation serve to suss out the other person’s “angle.” With this, the intention was immediately known. It also allowed for some surprising turns as roles reversed. Feel good results were springing up all over the room.
From there, the plenary session officially opened the brass tacks part of the day. This was also the time to get the thank-you’s out of the way, and as with any civic event, these were long and probably the least valuable for those not connected with the event. However, as one of the main goals of the conference is to get more women into politics at all levels, seeing the level of appreciation given to those who serve could sweeten the appeal.
The women who ran the breakout sessions offered extensive hand outs with pragmatic instructions, everything from Lizzy Shaw’s business card do’s and don’ts list to Ruth Simeon’s detailed workbook for strategic planning. Old hands and new found gems in the presentations like Alaia Williams’ tips on a few tools for organizing that can take some of the grind of running a small business.
One of the hallmarks of all events of this kind is the delivery of a huge shot of enthusiasm into the lifeblood of participants. The West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference had that in spades, yet managed to keep it grounded in reality. I find more often than not that the rah-rah at events like these crosses over from
Conference participating sponsors and partners of the West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference include: Lifetime, Participant Media, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Sunset Strip Business Association, National Women’s Political Caucus, LA/Westside, West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board, West Hollywood Lesbian Visibility Committee, West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, National Council of Jewish Women/LA, Women At Work, Hollywood NOW and the League of Women Voters Los Angeles.
April 9, 2011 9 am – 4:30 pm Plummer Park 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046
$25 Early; $35 Advance; $45 Day; $15 senior/fulltime student rate Childcare available