Pennsylvania Conference for Women Empowers and Educates Thousands of Participants
By Rose Strong
Nearly half a million square feet of space was needed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia to make way for the more than 12,000 women and men (those that were brave enough) attending the Pennsylvania Conference for Women on October 12. The conference took up two full expo halls for the keynote speakers and one for the display of businesses, universities, financial planners, health and wellness booths and the ever-popular, phone-charging stations.
Branded as one of the largest women’s conferences in the commonwealth, it isn’t hard to believe when you’re sitting among the thousands of women, all there for a day of empowerment, education, networking and gathering for a sense familial of strength.
With keynote speakers such as tennis star Serena Williams, international human right’s lawyer Amal Clooney, 16-year-old iOS developer and mental health activist Amanda Southworth, and comedian and disability activist Maysoon Zayid, it was hard not to feel swept up in a flurry of emotions when hearing about their lives and work during their addresses to the sea of women and men in the audience.
The conference is billed as a nonpartisan, nonprofit event that helps to, “promote, communicate and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond.” Committed to helping women gain equality in pay, in the boardroom and end the gender gap in leadership, it offers more than 100 workshops and seminars on leadership, problem-solving, communications, personal finance and entrepreneurship, just to name a few.
One of the workshops I attended, “Give Yourself a Performance Boost,” was a 15-minute quick-stop between speakers that was tremendously helpful in learning how to increase mental and physical functioning throughout the day. Megan Duelks, America’s Lead, Employee Health Innovation at Johnson & Johnson was bursting with energy, a good thing since this was right before lunch and energy was waning for many in the audience.
With unbelievable finesse, Duelks broke down a course often covered in eight hours or even several days, using the basic tenets of managing your energy and wellbeing with the four principals of the course: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.
They were simple concepts, explained in terms that can make our complex daily lives just a bit better and up our performance. Duelks explained that since many of us have jobs where we sit, remembering to get up and move in some way makes our blood flow and our brains are better able to work on the other three principals.
“Keep in mind that we can often get so into our work that we don’t get up and move or even eat and both of those things, even a short stint down the hall and getting a healthy snack can make a big difference in how we perform,” she said.
The difference between mental and emotional is the ability to process information (mental) and the ability to communicate what you’ve processed (emotional). Spirituality isn’t necessarily a faith belief in a deity, but more a way of finding peace and clarity in a world filled with pressure, deadlines and anxiety.
The conference is highly recommend for anyone looking to up their energy and inspiration. The opportunities abound to learn and connect.