I am just back from the much awaited Working Women of Florida State Conference last week. Approximately 400 women gathered at the Mahaffey Theater for a conference that was called the event of the year, according to many local business owners.
For those of you who do not know, Working Women of Florida was started last year by Jessica Rivelli, who founded Working Women of Tampa Bay four years ago. Having experienced so much success in the local area, Jessica decided to expand state wide, and the response has been amazing. The organization promotes networking events each month designed for businesswomen to get to know each other, hear educational and inspiring speakers, all while having a little fun! This is not your mothers chamber networking event, nor is it anything like a local BNI meeting. Conversely, monthly events include both coffee and happy hour opportunities, as well luncheons with educational and inspiring speakers and workshops. WWOTB even hosts a monthly Working Moms Roundtable giving local moms the opportunity to share both challenges and successes with each other in a smaller group setting.
The host hotel was nothing short of amazing. If you have never been to Hotel Indigo in Downtown St Pete, make sure to check it out! A few features include: 100% smoke-free rooms, complimentary WIFI, and a fitness center.
Thursday night I got to meet many of the vendors at the conference kick-off reception. Book authors, Insurance agents, Mary Kay reps, marketing companies, and so many others were set up and smiling ready to talk business! I have always enjoyed meeting vendors in person at events like this. It is a great way to engage face to face with other business women and get the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the many business services that are available. Of course, we got to have some fun too, since we had TapSnap there with their photo booth!
Friday morning started off with a Keynote Breakfast with Former Tampa Mayor, Pam Iorio. She led a great discussion and even gave everyone a copy of her book: Straightforward: Ways to Live & Lead. I waited in line after for a picture and a book signature! Next we all went into the main theatre for the main event. We heard from so many wonderful speakers throughout the day, among them included Stacie Schaible, Kim Garst, Michelle Phillips, and Patricia Rossi. The presenters touched on a range of topics from fear and risk-taking to the importance of self-confidence, humor, leadership, and kindness. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel like I just left a “rah-rah fest” (although motivation was certainly a part of the day’s message). I went home feeling confident in my business, and armed with some new techniques that I could use immediately… not to mention the handful of new contacts I met over the 2 day event.
No matter what industry you are in, networking, education, and inspiration are crucial to success. Having been an member of Working Women of Tampa Bay for the past few years, I can tell you from personal experience, that both my business and personal life have improved as a result of the relationships I have made in this organization. If you are interested in membership or have questions about networking and business, please leave a comment below!