Disrupt the Ordinary: Take-Aways

In early April, I attended the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, MA, featuring the most amazing women on this planet. These women did not settle for ordinary, instead reached beyond their own imagination. Truly a gift to see this in action.

A common trait I noticed in each of the women who spoke on stage that day was that when they reached the mountaintop – after soaking up the glory for a moment – they pursued the next vista, the next summit. When you are in the mindset of continuous growth, it’s easier to stay in flow with the wickedly fast changes in our  universe.

Nely Galán

The Opening Keynote delivered by Nely Galán, the former President of Entertainment for Telemundo, said she never let fear and failure stop her progress.

“Do it anyway…failure happens way more than success.”

Cynicism is her power play. To be chosen, you have to choose yourself first.  It was validating to hear that she uses a form of affirmations to declare who she wants to be in the world, as if she already was that person.  I have a similar routine that I do with two friends every morning: we text one another our daily affirmations to lift our spirits and declare our already-present greatness. I’ve done goal-writing, but to write goals starting with the end of your life and work backwards? Now that, Nely, changes everything.

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Edie Weiner

Edie Weiner, President and CEO of The Future Hunters, gave a mind-blowing talk about dignity and purpose. One surprising revelation is that in our future, honesty will be the highest valued trait. We are at the dawn of a new era, Civilization Alpha, creating life from non-life. 4-D printers will allow us to print things that can change form if you add another element, like water. This technology will change the future in airline security –  we will never know what is getting past TSA and aboard a plane.

Edie’s concern is that we are moving farther and farther away from focusing on sustaining technologies. Only 11 percent of technology is focused on agriculture. Not to side track, but it’s ironic that as I was writing this, CBS Sunday Morning had a segment on innovative farming tools, about gathering data on yield and fertility for predictive analysis. Edie’s book, FutureThink is my next read.

Michelle Robinson Obama

And of course, there was Michelle, who carried us through the Closing Keynote. Moderator, Helen Drinan asked Michelle thought-provoking questions that took us back to the Obama Administration, and up to what she is doing today. When asked about the current political climate, her diplomacy was humbling:

The arc of history is long. Going backwards is part of growth…
…we are here because we need to be here

Regarding the outcome of the 2016 election: What’s going on inside of us that we are not embracing a woman as our president? When questioned about whether or not she or Oprah, would consider running for president, she remarked that she didn’t have the passion for politics. We should be seeking out women for their eagerness to serve for the People, versus on intelligence alone. It would have to be someone who could sort through all the multitude of ideas from advisors, and make the best decision that would be for the greater good.

Being First Lady, she was privileged to experience the world, which she saw from the back door. She didn’t get to see as much, and intends to revisit. Also, many of these places were typically cleared out, no signs of people, except who they came to see.

Mr. and Mrs. Obama are currently working on the Obama Presidential Center, in Chicago, with one of its charters to find the next generation of leaders. The former First Lady left us with these closing words:

“Be brave enough to own your own voices. Be okay with imperfections.
Be more tolerant. We are more alike than different.”

I could write for days about the other speakers, such as Gretchen Carlson, and Roopa Unnikrishnan, but I won’t. Instead, I will carry this motivating and extraordinary experience with me for years to come.

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