I just got back from the Women In Leadership
conference given at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. More often
than not, I am disappointed in conferences and their agendas, which is
why I do not go to very many. But the WIL
conference was fantastic! The Keynotes were great and all 3 were given
by women in very different times int heir lives and careers. The
workshops and panels were well run and had interesting topics and very
interesting presenters. There was not one time throughout the day where
I felt that I was wasting my time.

Here are some highlights:

  1. Laura Alber,
    the President of Williams-Sonoma Inc spoke in the morning keynote. Her
    talk was fantastic and extremely inspirational. She has gotten where
    she is in her career because of her smarts, hard work, dedication and
    PASSION. She had an incredible story to tell about starting the Pottery
    Barn kids and PBTeen lines at Pottery Barn. She is the person behind
    those initiatives and took a huge chance to prove herself with these
    new lines of business. She didn’t say it but I am pretty sure her
    entrepreneurial drive to make Pottery Barn Kids successful is what lead
    her eventually to get the Presidential position at Williams-Sonoma Inc.
    She is a no-nonsense person who also feels real. And from the looks of
    her bios it also looks like she managed to get this far and still be
    under 40. Does it get more inspirational?
  2. A great hands-on workshop on entrepreneurship where a new start-up
    presented some real problems they were facing and everyone got involved
    helping them find real solutions. The presenter, Kirsten Tobey,was very well prepared and controlled the workshop very well, and the session was very interesting.  Her company, Revolution Foods, is helping low-income school kids have better, healthier, less processed foods.
  3. Holly Schroth’s
    workshop on Managing Perception to Achieve Impact was fascinating. She
    has done some really interesting research about perception, first
    impressions and how it relates to business and business negotiations.
    The only problem with her workshop was that she only had an hour!
  4. Alice Waters.
    Enough said. When else do you get an opportunity to be up close and
    personal with someone as revolutionary in the food industry as Alice
    Waters? And if you do not know who she is – then read up. She has been
    behind the SLOW food movement since way before it was trendy. Check out
    her very cool Edible Schoolyard project.

I definitely recommend this conference to any women interested in
advancing themselves. And the bonus of it all? Unlike conference which
charge hundreds of dollars and sometimes thousands of dollars, this one
costs a MERE $85.00. What a worthwhile spend of that money.

Sabrina Parsons aka Mommy CEO

Palo Alto Software

AvatarSabrina Parsons

Sabrina has served as CEO of Palo Alto Software since 2007.