There were 30 women from all across the country who attended plus some women who had been part of it in years' past and many volunteers. We worked on personal branding, professional presentation skills, and so much more! One of the presenters made more of an impact on me than the others. For anyone else who is interested in professional and personal development I'd really recommend checking out Jo Miller's website www.BeLeaderly.com. She has some fantastic advice about balancing your skills and desires with the needs of your company and industry. She can really help you nail down a plan on where you should be headed in your career.
At the end of the week, we broke into small groups and were given a research project to do. Some people grumbled about getting "homework" that was somewhat on a volunteer basis but it turned out to be a really great experience. It was more like a "special/stretch project" for some of the executive leadership team. We got to choose one of a few different options for the project and each one was a current issue that the company is trying to solve and that is very important to at least one member of the executive leadership town. We had the opportunity to get to know our group mates better even though we were from all different disciplines and sites. We also got to interview staff members and leaders at all levels and see more into corporate strategy than we normally did in our daily jobs.
Three months later, in June, we flew back out to California to present our findings from our research project. The second trip was a little more of a whirlwind as we flew in, met with our groups to prepare, toured some campus facilities and then did our final presentation. I also got to go out to dinner with the women in my group one night which was pretty fun! It was amazing to be on a group project where each member of the group was equally motivated and put in an equal amount of effort. We all worked hard and we never had to worry about someone "dropping the ball". We ended our summit with one last networking event. The networking events were another great experience with time to get to know people on a personal level instead of just professionally.
I am a little relieved to be done with my research project since it took up quite a bit of time but I am SOO thankful for the amazing opportunity provided to me. Thus far, my new job has been a very challenging and gratifying experience. I can't wait to see what else comes in the year ahead and I know I will do whatever I can to pass along the things I've learned and help others participate in the same types of opportunities I've been given!