Friday came and went all too quickly.
It started with a wonderful presentation by Alice Eagly on re-framing the concept of the glass ceiling. Glass ceiling is deemed dated – reflecting only outside forces surrounding women in the workplace and not helping us examine those that come from within or even beside us. I really enjoyed the exploration of gender roles vs. the typical leader stereotype and how neither view is helping either gender establish their real voice in the workplace.
I also learned a new word: agentic. I plan to use it in business meetings where everyone will nod sagely and yet no one will know what it means :-)
Then I attended a workshop on wise leadership. I suppose everyone has a different view on what makes a “workshop” but, in my opinion, it should include exploration by the audience for at least 1/3 of the discussion. Grumbling about the format aside, I did love how one presenter pointed out that leaders are not necessarily stupid…but they can be foolish!
I attended another workshop (where we did explore) on systems of leadership. It was fascinating to see that some folks in the room needed to be “right” more than they were willing to inhabit another viewpoint. The learning was less important to them than convincing others they had an answer. Fascinating to watch/listen!
Regardless of the presenters’ ability, strength of material or size of the session crowd – the real value of this conference became evident in the quality of the minds present and the strength of the discussions held in and around the sessions. The excitement as new ideas were found/challenged/merged was palpable in every room and at every break.
It was one of the few conferences where the evening discussions still focused on the themes of the presentations and not just on the social interactions /networking that also add value to these symposiums.