An Event Full of Brilliance: Recapping the Women in Retail Leadership Summit
Last week, I had the unique opportunity to spend a few days enjoying the company of a few hundred other women retail industry experts at the Women in Retail Leadership Summit (#WIRLS), held in beautiful Key Biscayne, Miami.
This was my first time attending the summit, and it was certainly a great experience to connect with so many amazing women. Our titles and egos were checked at the door, and the candor and solidarity was palpable.
The event really reminded me of an article I recently read about fireflies, which explained that a single firefly lighting up is not as productive as a group of fireflies. The outstanding group of women at the summit were truly lighting up together, and their collective brightness was fascinating. There is power in connection, and so many women attending the summit said they felt so much more optimistic about the future being part of this group.
Beyond the strong sense of connection, there were engaging sessions, leaders, and role models that shared life experiences and memorable moments.
#Careerbrag—You might be surprised to find out that even with the successes many of the speakers shared, they still struggle with bragging about success. Learning how to talk about our successes was a good development exercise for us all.
#Mentoring—A panel of career coaches and change management leaders talked to us about the importance of finding a mentor (and often, not just one) throughout our career and more importantly, be willing to be a mentor for others.
#WomeninTechnology—One of my favorite parts of the event was hearing women in technology talk about the challenges they face keeping up with ever-changing customer demands and technology advancements—and they were all so positive about the investments their companies are making to keep up. Robotics in the grocery business made this tech geek smile.
#DImatters—Another group recognized that progress in diversity and inclusion is key for continued successes and ultimately develops a better workplace for everyone. However, instilling diversity and inclusion into a company’s culture does not come without challenges, and women can and should continue to drive the change.
There were also solution success stories presented for many of the issues retail leaders face day to day. It was great to see solution providers presenting alongside the retailers with whom they partnered and talk about the value they gained together. Key solution areas spanned everything from customer analytics and insights, marketing/CRM, and disrupters like Afterpay and Synchrony, who are changing the way shoppers interact with payment options.
Something special happens when you see that you are not alone and get encouragement by hearing other women’s stories. One speaker gave these secrets to success “Do more of what makes you happy. Be open and curious. Open your mind to people who have different ideas than you. And, step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.”
Thank you to all the women who shared your time and hearts last week. I am truly grateful for the experience.