In my junior year of college, I sat in the White House. I sat at the edge of my seat as I listened to women of color ranging from Chief of Staff members to representatives from economic policy and public engagement. These powerful women talked about experiences and lessons that they had learnt as White House Staffers, and as I took in everything, I appreciated the opportunity to sit, listen and learn.
I experienced a similar feeling of respect and gratitude as I sat surrounded by amazing black women at the SheHive DC conference this past weekend. There is something powerful about hearing from people who wield successful and influential positions, people who see themselves in you and who you can see yourself in. That being said, here are three key takeaways from the conference centered on your value proposition and how you can learn from others. The takeaways are: track your data, don’t be afraid to ask for informational interviews and lift as you climb. I hope you learn something concrete that you can apply to your career, business, and life just as I did!
How you can provide value
In the “Building Partnerships” workshop with Afua Osei (co-founder of SheLeadsAfrica), Afua talked about one of the ways that her organization proved their value proposition effectively. In their proposals and potential partnerships, they were able to collect and measure relevant data. They could pinpoint exactly how much value they added to potential partners and sponsors based on data that they tracked including statistics like how many more followers they could bring to an organization’s social media presence.
Our world is increasingly becoming a more data-driven one, and the ability to measure data and showcase it in digestible ways will open doors to building partnerships and attracting sponsors in your business. A cool resource I want to share from a YouTube channel that I follow(shout out to TechChange!) that looks at everyday datasets and visualizes it is Piktochart. Piktochart is an easy way to visually represent data that you collect and it can help you start thinking more about collecting and representing your data!The ability to measure data and showcase it will open doors to attracting sponsors in your business Click To Tweet
Learning from the people around you
Another valuable tool, that should come in handy is the informational interview. I first learnt the concept of informational interviews through one of my mentors (shout out to Davia!) Informational interviews are essentially interviews where you seek out and ask for an opportunity to meet people you admire and want to learn from.
At SheHive, Denise Horn, who is currently head of corporate communications at Turner Broadcasting, also emphasized the importance of connecting with people through informational interviews. A tip was to also ask these people for two other people within their circle that you can connect with!
During my job search, my mentor connected me to so many people doing amazing work in various sectors in her circle. These interviews gave me clarity on what I wanted to pursue career wise and the things that I was passionate about. It was amazing how people I didn’t know were eager to help me learn from them. I hope that you too will also seek out people that you want to learn from. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking questions and asking for informational interviews!
And finally one of my favorite takeaways from the conference: “There is a seat at the table for you and me. Lift as you climb.” My friend, Adoley, and I coined this quote as our takeaway from the conference. (And won a bottle of wine for it too ayee)
I am a product of the people who invested in me. The people who made time and shared their knowledge and experiences with me. Recently, I have been reflecting about the kind of footprint I want my life to leave as I transition from my undergraduate experience. And it’s one that embodies the theme of #liftasyouclimb.
The idea of trying to be a woman who actively encourages women around you. Someone who willingly shares tips, advice, and experiences, and connects people to others within your network when necessary. A lot of times, in our attempt to achieve success, we forget about other people that we can carve out time for and support to reach similar successes that we have had. We all have experiences that others can learn from and it’s important that, when we are able to, we share our experiences with others in a way that is constructive and beneficial.We all have experiences that others can learn from & it's important to we share them with others Click To Tweet
Thanks to SheHive DC for that reminder. Track your data, don’t be afraid to ask for informational interviews and lift as you climb.