By Kathleen Parrish

A world-renowned expert on contraceptive technology.  The organizer of a global leadership conference aimed at empowering women. An author, activist, and lawyer working to repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

These are a few of the acclaimed alumnae who spoke on campus Saturday during the Council of Lafayette Women conference. This year’s theme was Seeing What Matters: Visualizing Your Best Self, a nod to keynote speaker Amy Herman ’88, who trains medical doctors, flight attendants, and members of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and Navy Seals, on how to improve their observation skills.

More than 200 students and alumnae attended the sold-out conference, with representation ranging from the first coed graduating class in 1974 to soon-to-be 2018 grads.

President Alison Byerly opened the event by quoting Vicki Salemi ’95, who described the gathering as “a powerhouse of awesome women.”  Eight hours later, Alumni Association President Lisa Kassel closed the day by suggesting a circle of women, like the ones in Marquis Hall, could save the world.

We couldn’t agree more.

In the meantime, here’s advice from some of the presenters on becoming your best self.

Dr. Christine Masterson Vergura ’92, director of the Women and Children service line at Summit Medical Group (middle)

Dr. Christine Masterson Vergura ’92, director of the Women and Children service line at Summit Medical Group

“Invest time in yourself. Make sure you’re caring for yourself, both physically and emotionally. In order to be the best for others, you have to take care of yourself.”

Sherry Welsh ’85, author of Slowing Down: Unexpected Way to Thrive as a Female Leader

“Be kind and generous with each other, knowing everyone is acting out of innocence and doing the best they can with what they believe at that moment. Any time you doubt that you’re not capable of doing something, step in, give it a shot, test it out. Nothing is forever. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else. And when something isn’t working for you, ask for what you want. Speak up. Share honestly what doesn’t work and what you’d like to see different. That’s how you create the world you want to live in and bring your dreams to life.”

Katie Livornese ’14, organizer of the S.H.E. Summit, a global leadership conference

“Think about what your best qualities are and then work very hard to expose yourself to opportunities that can help develop those skills. Also, live authentically. That means not worrying about what others think about you and really spending time with yourself and learning who you really are and then living in that truth.”

Susan Cassin Wilson ’80, executive leadership coach

“Take time to pause and allow yourself to become self-aware. Quiet your inner critic and embrace the wiser, older, future self, the woman that you’re becoming, your North Star, your inner mentor.”

Laneta Dorflinger ’75, scientist, director of Contraceptive Technology Innovation

“Be honest with yourself. Be the person you really are. For me the most transformative time in my life was when I dropped the façade. When you work with other people, within a week, within a day, you know that person even better than you expect to know them. You know their foibles and they know yours. I tried to hide that. I wanted to be the perfect self.  Now I tell people who work for me to ask for what they need from me. For example, I let them know that if they need me to review a scientific paper, it will be done tomorrow. But if they want me to read some horrible standard operating procedure that might put me to sleep, it might take three requests to get it from me. They shouldn’t be shy. I have no ego, but they may have to knock on my door 16 times to get it. I think just being yourself is important.”

 

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