Melina Ressler, Intern, Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation
Recently, the Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation hosted a webinar, titled Finding Your Power, focused on helping women find their power from within to be bold and accomplish their goals. Jennifer Ryon, Alliance board member, and Aimee Velez Weiss, Alliance marketing committee chair, welcomed life coach and career consultant Natalie Fikes, [add a phrase about why they picked Natalie, for example, well-known for …,] in the live interactive session. The panel discussed the importance of real connections and emotional intelligence in and out of work – a key skill for career development at all levels. Here is an overview of the webinar and key takeaways.
Jennifer opened the discussion by asking Fikes, “How would you encourage more women to break out of their fears and start their venture?”
“The first thing we need to understand is that the answer is always inside of us,” Fikes explained. “We wouldn’t have the desire to do something if we didn’t have the ability to do so inside of us.” She added that confidence in a situation comes from doing it correctly once, realizing you can do it, and continuing to do it again. You don’t need every piece of the puzzle connected together before you start on something, but you do need to begin so you can find the answers along the way.
“We as women need to be there to help out one another,” Fikes said, shooting down the idea that our goals should be to get in with the top of the top. She advised the webinar attendees to take lateral moves to get places with people who want to get there too. “We must link in with those on the same playing field as us so we can learn, and help build each other up together,” she added. Essentially, women should stop trying to get in with the director. The directors already have connections with other directors. So, it’s important for women to find their own playing field and start their own projects together.
“You’re so confident” is a phrase that Fikes hears frequently. Her response to that is, “I’m not going to miss the moment. I am not going to lay in my bed with regret. I’m not. That’s what confidence is to me.”
“Think of a dance floor,” Fikes said. Everyone at the venue is waiting for that one person to go out on the dance floor to give others the validation that is okay to do so as well. Well what if you were that person? “You know that the moment you leave the wall or the chair you are an automatic hero,” she reminded her audience. “What if you were that person who just got on the dance floor and you just moved to the rhythm of your own beat? It’s letting go of this perception that you have to do it right.”
“How do you know when you have real connections with people?” Velez asked. Fikes referred to a 75-year old Harvard University study that answered the question of what is the one thing we should focus on: our relationships. If you’re hanging around yesterday people, expired people — which Fikes defines as “that’s how I used to be, that’s what I used to think, that’s what I used to want,” — you’ll never ever get where you want to go. “Essentially, you must be surrounded by people who want to grow with you rather than those who hold you back,” she said.
To make real connections you have to be vulnerable. Breaking down walls is essential to be able to comfortably communicate freely, Fikes reminded the attendees. “Make eye contact with others and show that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.”
Connect with someone’s dream
Ryon raised a question that many women grapple with. What if you don’t know what your dream is? What do you do?
If you don’t know what your dream is, then connect with someone else’s dream that you are passionate about, Fikes advised. Until you know what your dream is, partner with someone else to help them achieve their dream. “I see that you have this going on, let me have your back, because I like to help people do this to get that result,” she added. For example, water boys and girls are always needed. Even when it seems like a small role, you are still helping someone achieve their goal.
How do you instill the confidence early on so that we can close the gender gap and demonstrate the confidence? Velez wanted to know.
“Males have a 400-year head start, so, there will always be a gap,” Fikes noted. It’s not about closing the gender gap per se, it’s about standing up and being counted. It’s about other women getting on the dance floor, and then another woman getting on the dance floor. “And you know how we do that? It’s like Dorthey [from The Wizard of Oz]. It’s saying ‘Hey I see you, come, come with me, let’s do it together.’”
Women have been taught to be competitive with each other rather than being happy when others are built up. Rather than continuing that mindset, Fikes stressed, “We have to team up together. We have to connect as women with one another so that we can learn from others in areas we are weak in and build others up in areas we have strengths in.”
Finding Your Power Webinar
About Melina Ressler
A Journalism major at the University of Missouri, Melina Ressler is the social media content creator for the campus newspaper, The Maneater. An experienced sportswriter for her high school paper, the New Trier News, Melina completed internships at two public relations firms, FWD Consulting in London, and 5WPR in New York City. In 2020, Melina was appointed as a blog writer for the Alliance of Women in Worker’s Compensation writing member spotlights and event recaps for a national audience.
About Alliance of Women in Workers Compensation
The Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation is a think tank committed to industry-specific topics resulting in idea sharing, insight gathering, and networking. We provide an environment for open a dialogue on the challenges and opportunities for women in the workplace.