InfluenceHER Week: The Highlights Edition

The MITX InfluenceHER Event left the Isobar Boston team feeling inspired and empowered, so we wanted to share the feeling! Check out some of the highlights:

What was your favorite presentation/workshop/speaker and why?

Christine Kalish, Lead Producer

I was fascinated with Jess Davis’ presentation, “The Change Maker: Digital Well-being & the Mindful Use of Technology,” At first I thought, ok, she’s going to talk about our over-reliance on digital devices, something we’ve all heard many times before. About halfway through the session, Jess was in the process of breaking down the steps of how to get control over a common problem we face in our everyday lives. We are bombarded with incoming messages, alerts, social feeds, content we create to share, the need to consume constantly, but we’re not clearly seeing how this negatively impacts our identity and personal well-being. Jess taIlked about how we can reframe our thinking and also provided tips for being deliberate about when and how we decide to communicate and consume content. For example, most people in the room said they keep their phone next to them at night and check it first thing in the morning—but, is that really necessary? I felt challenged to try some of her suggestions for creating boundaries for myself. She encouraged us to reach for the “oxygen mask” and make the time and space to breathe and do the things that make us feel truly connected to ourselves and the important people in our lives.

Alicia Park, Senior Strategist

My favorite workshop was “The 7 Habits of Highly Resilient People” with Alanna Fincke. The session included exercises to help increase our awareness of our own emotions that were blocking us from our goals. It was helpful to pinpoint when my emotions are triggered and how to deal with them. No matter how much experience you may have in your job, emotions can be roadblocks if you don’t use them to your advantage. Be self aware of your triggers to better perform and bounce back from obstacles.

Jenessa Carder, Strategy Director

The group session, “Strategies for Handling Difficult Conversations While Staying Positive” highlighted the story about NASA’s great O-Ring failure. In the process of investigating why the Challenger shuttle exploded, NASA placed blame on people instead of addressing the system—the true underlying cause of the problem. Often times, difficult conversations are the result of an information gap that causes a complete system failure, exacerbated by a tendency to place blame rather than seek out the true issue. This session challenged us to stop, observe, and reflect on the assumptions being made, the intentions we have, the data or outcome desired, and the impact or change the system (or influencing factors) need in order to focus difficult conversations constructively.

Did you take away any actionable advice? How do you plan on incorporating it into your life?

Lisa Ha, Account Lead

I went to the “Everyday I’m Tech-Hustlin’: Disrupting the Straight and Narrow Path to Success” panel that featured Julie Yoo, Chief Strategy Officer of Kyruus. During the conversation, she shared the statistic that it takes, on average, 4.3 emails to get a response. She applies this number to her everyday life as a reminder that things don’t always happen on the first try. You have to surface and resurface what you want at least four different times to have the message sink in. We are often reminded to be resilient and persevere when we hear “no,” but, for some reason, this particular statistic reframed that sentiment in my mind. It takes the emotional aspect of hearing no out of the equation and gives me the ground to understand that my idea might just require more socialization before people truly consider and/or support it. Personal and professional, I’ll keep that number in mind as encouragement to persist and forge ahead.

Alicia Park, Senior Strategist

Writing down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day allows you to scan for positivity, rather than negativity. Sometimes we focus too much on the failures and negative moments in our day so I plan on testing this out after my work to be more appreciative!

Christine Kalish, Lead Producer

I loved the idea of creating a “Power Hour Task List,” which was shared as part of Amanda Goetz’s presentation on “Leaving Guilt at the Door to Advance Your Career.” The idea is to keep a running list of all the personal to-do items that pop into your head as you go about your day. Then, you schedule an hour, maybe even once a week, when you try to knock out as many things on that list as possible. That way you can stay focused on the bigger items that are going to have the most impact, and avoid getting distracted by all the little things. Great idea for a busy mom who is also balancing a career!

Anne Keane, Engagement Director

While each session had great nuggets, “The Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs” had the best combination of quality and quantity. Leslie Forde, Head of Product Marketing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Channel One News shared data-backed insights from the vast research she has done over the years interviewing. As a working Mom, I understand the pressure to “do it all.” By delegating and automating out tasks (whether that is at work or at home), you are freeing up the space in your brain for the more challenging activities. Another great tip? Do the heavy “lifting” (planning, thinking, etc) when you know you have the most time and energy. For me that is early in the morning, before my daughter wakes up. Hearing points like this is a reminder that it’s ok to ask for help and adequately allot time for my biggest challenges.

What advice would you give/learning you would pass on to your peers coming out of these sessions?

Lisa Ha, Account Lead

Your career doesn’t have to be linear – you get to define success on your own terms. We constantly are judging ourselves: are we checking the right boxes, how do we compare to our peers, etc. It’s okay to take things at your own pace and engage in activities or make decisions that help you figure out your self-identity. Those decisions may take you down a path that you didn’t envision before, but going through the process is worth it. Each step helps you figure out another piece of you, and when you have a better sense of who you are and what is important to you, you’ll have an easier time navigating whatever road you’re on. There’s no sense in climbing a ladder as fast as you can, just to realize it’s up against the wrong building.

Anne Keane, Engagement Director

Jess Davis shared in her session that devices left on a table (even turned over) shorten the conversation by 18 minutes. While I immediately thought of dinner with friends and family, I also thought about work. In the same vein, we also heard that multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40%. When we are trying to problem solve as a team, can we try tackling the challenge with our computers and cellphones tucked away? I am excited to see the impact of this type of experiment.

Jenessa Carder, Strategy Director

One of the best questions asked during the day was what books or content do you love to read. The answers to which everyone in attendance vigorously jotted down. The takeaway? Never miss a moment to ask a mentor what they read. Here are a few of the resources mentioned during the sessions:

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Turning difficult life moments into your strengths by Whitney Wolfe:

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