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Stronger Together

Very soon, I’ll be taking some time off for a little relaxation, and a lot of inspiration, to attend the National Federation of Press Women conference. This is one of my favorite events of the year, and I couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait to see all my NFPW sisters and brothers and catch up with what they’ve been doing since I saw them last. It’s like a family reunion, made even more so, because my mother and I have been attending this together for nearly 10 years.

I’ve made many close friendships in this organization, and I love them dearly. This rambunctious bunch of strong, opinionated, outspoken and, at times, even a little caustic, women never cease to amaze me. Their passion for writing inspires me. They made me feel comfortable and included from the moment I stepped into my first conference. I felt like I was one of them, even though I considered myself to be an interloper, since I’m not a journalist and barely considered myself a writer when I joined, thinking business plans and employee handbooks didn’t really count. That feeling is why I volunteered as the national Director of Fun for the organization for six years, to help other newbees at the conference immediately feel like part of our family.

This year we’ll be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the NFPW. But the history goes back further than that. In 1885, 47 women came together to form the Illinois Women’s Press Association, to support each other and share information to advance the interests and standards of women writers. At that time, there weren’t many opportunities for women writers and many put their lives in danger to write about the injustices they experienced. (Check out this article about journalist Nelly Bly.) We take our role as professional communicators very seriously, as you can tell by our Code of Ethics we recite at the beginning of each conference. If this sounds interesting to you, check out our local chapter, Wichita Professional Communicators.

At times, I’ve wondered if there’s a need for organizations like this. Do we still need to form alliances to promote opportunities for women? Haven’t we moved beyond this yet? Then I saw this article about a company that had to invent a fake male cofounder to get anything accomplished. Unfortunately, the truth is, we do still need these kinds of organizations. Not just to give us equal opportunities, but because we are stronger together. When we collaborate, magic happens. I feel it in every Finishing School class as we meet to talk about our issues, learn new skills and work together to face our challenges and solve problems. We need to be as smart as men in forming alliances to help one another be more successful. Instead of the Good Old Boys Club, we need Worthy Women Clubs.

Another group of women I’m honored to be part of is the Know Your Worth Women’s Leadership Conference planning team. Our conference on Friday, September 29 is going to be phenomenal! Here’s the link to register. The keynote speaker is Karen S. Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer at Dow Chemical. Other speakers include some Finishing School co-teachers, like Jenny Wiley and Connie Porazka. After lunch, Julia McBride, the Vice President of the Kansas Leadership Center and I have a fun session planned to help you find your inner superhero and curate your own Worthy Woman Club.

We have some powerful Finishing School classes planned after our break. Join us to break through what’s holding you back, own your power, empower your empathic self, make new connections, and explore entrepreneurship.

What an exciting month!

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