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The Bridge: A Personal Reflection of the UWF Women in Leadership Conference

March 29, 2018 | By: Mary Stucko |

stock image of wooden bridge
The 2018 Women in Leadership Conference is hosted by the College of Business Executive Mentor Program.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight” - a Japanese proverb. On Friday, March 9, I attended the 2018 Women in Leadership Conference, hosted by the College of Business Executive Mentor Program. Below is a metaphor I created while observing the opening speaker and the first panel.

Susan Story, president and chief executive officer of American Water Works Company, was the opening speaker for the conference. She accentuated points of self confidence, obtaining work experience, seeking feedback, being flexible, looking to the next, and not concentrating on the past.

After reflection on the speech, I came to the assumption that growing up we may not really think about the process to achievement. Rather, we think about the results, such as the things we want in the long term (life dreams, cars, houses, job, etc.) We may have the big picture in mind, which is good. However, along the way, a gap can form from where we are to where we want to be (the dream life).

So how do we cross this gap? Our experiences are the wooden planks and our resources and connections are the tools. Where we are right now is one mountain and where we want to be is another. In total, our job experiences, relationships, and connections are the bridge that conjoin the two mountains. Life is a process, not a place.

Following Mrs. Story, the first panel took the stage. It included conversation between Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, Alexis Bolin, Kara Cardona, Rev. Susan Sowers, and Amie Remington. The panelists suggested that life is not going to be easy. Many times we will feel as if we are stationary or even going backwards, but we are not. Every setback, every fall, every mistake, we gain something or learn a lesson.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight” - a Japanese proverb.

As the proverb suggests, it does not matter how many times we fail, just as long as we remember to get up and never quit trying.

In all, this conference helped rehash some good life lessons that everyone should hear. Life is confusing. Life is hard. As long as we can roll with the punches in the plan, keep pushing forward, and stay positive, everything will work out better than expected.

Just remember “FORD,” as Alexis Bolin says. Faith and family, occupation, recreation, and dreams.