While achieving true work-life balance may always be a work in progress for even the most dedicated woman entrepreneur, integrating the two in a healthy, happy way certainly is according to the hundreds of women who attended and spoke at this year’s National Women’s Business Conference (WBC) hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in Spokane, Washington.
A conference favorite by far was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love and Big Magic, who kicked off the 2018 event. She shared a turning point in her life as a young, unpublished author where her “unofficial mentor” asked, “What are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want?” It’s the single most important question she’s been asked and led to her writing her first novel.
She also shared these insights:
- Priorities: The only way to truly feel relaxed is to know what you care about most.
- Boundaries: Draw a circle around what’s sacred in your life and don’t let that line be crossed.
- Mysticism: Understand that you’re not the only driving force in the universe.
Following breakout sessions and time exploring and connecting in the exhibit hall, a panel that included entrepreneurs Carolyn Rodz, Adreanna Limbach and Jill Kerrigan and moderated by Emily Shanks of Bank of America discussed how caring for ourselves physically and emotionally benefits us as women business owners. Jill, who owns a successful creative firm and is a recent cancer survivor, gave this advice: “Learn how to effectively delegate. Also, it’s okay to say no and accept help.”
Day two’s keynote, Shabnam Mogharabi of SoulPancake, had a powerful message, too. She spoke about the importance of joy and how to bring more of it into your life with these tips:
- Joy is not a bad word: People crave positivity that comes from acts like public service and showing gratitude.
- Practice gratitude: Expressing gratitude to other people causes happiness levels to increase.
- Authenticity is required: Get comfortable to create real and vulnerable experiences.
- Know yourself: You can’t tell a compelling story without finding your voice.
- It’s okay to take risks: Don’t be afraid to go where it’s a little scary.
In between it all were incredible moments that invited conference attendees to connect with themselves and others and practice what this year’s conference theme of “Work Well, Life Well” is all about. The work-life integration theme permeated every aspect of the event, from breakout sessions; to morning power walks and yoga; to an outing to visit local Spokane women business owners; to exhibit hall activities; to the opening reception and closing gala.
Here’s what several attendees had to say about their experience:
“I loved the ‘Work Well, Live Well’ theme and love Elizabeth Gilbert so those were the two main reasons I wanted to come.” —Christine Roper of Roper Physical Therapy, NAWBO-Charlotte member
“I was most looking forward to the relationship building and also learning about where NAWBO came from and where we want to go.” —Daria Brown of Once Upon a Shoe, NAWBO-Inland Northwest member
“My daughter and I were most impacted by the opportunity to meet people from all over the country, which normally, we would not have the chance to do.” —Carol Keough of Barita & Keough Law Firm, NAWBO-Houston member
“I made some very important decisions about my business after last year’s conference as a result of the breakout sessions and information shared, and that happened this year as well.” —Wendy Coulter of Hummingbird Creative Group, NAWBO-Greater Raleigh member
“It’s been most impactful to hear from the women who led the H.R. 5050 movement. When I brought my daughter into the world, I looked at her and thought, ‘You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do.’ I did not know there were women that year making it possible for her.” —Elizabeth Whitteberry of Best Path Advisors, NAWBO-Dallas/Ft. Worth member