This year’s Simmons Leadership Conference, held in the heart of Boston’s Seaport district, focused on how to inspire, embrace and drive change and innovation both in our personal and professional lives. The conference offered Somos employees a unique opportunity to be inspired by influential, passionate speakers who shook up the status quo. Being disruptive and driving change can no doubt be scary, but through their stories and experiences, they demonstrated how we as individuals can grow ourselves and be the change agent.
The day opened with an empowering keynote from Nely Galán, a media mogul and entrepreneur which focused on how to be “self-made.” Her classic rags to riches story was an amazing tale of how hard work and trusting in yourself can lead to empowerment and independence, specifically financial independence. “Make fear and failure your best friends” was a theme that especially resonated. At Somos, we believe strongly in taking chances and not being afraid to try new things.
The morning sessions were followed by a powerful keynote speech from former Miss America and FOX News personality Gretchen Carlson. A survivor of sexual harassment throughout her career, Gretchen had the whole room in tears as she shared her story of how she rose above workplace harassment to “be a voice for the voiceless.” As easy as it can be to lose power in the face of intimidation, Gretchen proved that by taking a stand and being the disruptor, you can shift the paradigm.
The conference ended with what we had all been eagerly anticipating – former First Lady Michelle Obama. Her moderated conversation stressed how essential it is to cultivate young women as leaders. We need to develop the youth of tomorrow so that they can drive the change we would like to see in the world. Ms. Obama closed by sharing her experiences not only as the First Lady and a wife, but also as a mother. Many Somos employees are working parents and were able to personally relate to Ms. Obama’s ability to successfully balance competing obligations. She was specific to stress that we need to put ourselves high on our lists and make ourselves a priority if we intend to drive innovation and disrupt the ordinary.
Overall, the 2018 Simmons Leadership Conference provided a platform to inspire change and empowerment, both in the workplace as well as our personal lives. The conference was a strong reminder that when someone tells you that you cannot do something, go extreme and disrupt the ordinary!