The Texas Conference for Women

By Jamie Hooker

In November this year, I had the pleasure of being one of more than 7,000 women to become more empowered at the Texas Conference for Women.

This year’s keynote speakers included Diane von Furstenburg, philanthropist and fashion designer; Annie Clark, co-founder and executive director of the national non-profit End Rape On Campus (EROC); Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion and champion of helping all students succeed; and Amal Clooney, an international human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.  

Along with the keynote speeches were “Breakout Sessions” and “Social Media Round Tables,” where panelists and experts spoke and gave tips based on their personal experiences in their field. It was nearly impossible to choose which breakout sessions to attend (they all seemed amazing), but I went to “The Art of Branding: Positioning Yourself for Your Future,” and “Innovative Women Pushing the Boundaries: Sharing Strategies for Risk-Taking and Success.”

I wish I could type a full transcript of the entire conference because every word spoke to me, but here are my four big takeaways:

Everything speaks! Your actions are your brand.

Although it has a lot to do with it, social media is not the only thing that factors into your personal brand. From daily interactions with co-workers and strangers, to what you decide to wear in the morning, it all speaks on some level. Kristen Nolte, SVP of brand and integrated marketing at HomeAway, said, “Be yourself, because you can’t fake that.” It’s easiest to brand yourself when you don’t put on acts or pretend to be something you aren’t. 

Have a passion for gaining knowledge.

To be hungry for information and willing to take advice is so important. Often, asking questions and learning more about your field can lead to the “why” in what you do.

Don’t think about what could go wrong, but what could go right.

One panelist explained that in general, if a woman isn’t 110 percent sure she will succeed at something then she won’t go for it, even if she is qualified to do so. Don’t be afraid to take risks or go for something you want, because the regret will be worse than not trying at all.

Women: Stand up for each other!

Amal Clooney said, “As women, we may not be a minority, but there is a bond that we all share. It’s not a bond of geography… of culture, or religion, it’s a bond of shared experience.” Women should stick up for other women and choose to protect and celebrate each other instead of competing or criticizing.

“Because if we are united, and we keep up the fight for each other’s rights, I believe there is no limit to what we can do.”