By Mindy Abel, Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliance and Partnership with Visit Anaheim and Chair of the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum Task Force

As I gear up for the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) in D.C. on April 26th, I ask myself, what does it mean to a woman in leadership both professionally and personally? Leadership for me means to engage and grow, participate and learn, be open to ideas, and to share them. These skills are shaped by my life experiences. Many of these experiences influenced me from elementary school to today, and as I progress in my career, understanding and accepting the viewpoint of others has helped to shape my perspective. Perseverance early on became the word that influenced my decision, my style and the approach I took.

What did you learn from getting the grades you earned, the games you’ve won and lost, and the fun as well as disappointments you’ve had along the way? As a leader I look for attitude, sincerity and commitment to the role you are in now, and a desire to be proud of the work you do. I enjoy learning from those I lead. They inspire me in my role.

I am excited about the framework of this year’s Women’s Leadership Forum in D.C. The content around the event addresses key areas that will give us tools to take back and use in our daily lives. IAEE has created content around these 5 words – View, Voice, Value, Vantage and Veneer. I am personally looking forward to hearing from experts on all of these, but a few have really resonated with me.


View. Understanding and appreciating others for their experiences and viewpoint can be inspirational. What is my point of view? Today is certainly different than 5-10 years ago, and what will it be in the future? It will be interesting to hear from fellow attendees and the event speakers on what this means to them and how their views have changed over the years.

Voice. How and where to use your voice, will set yourself up to learn, grow, and succeed. Exercise your voice through the work you do.

Value. Understanding the value of what you contribute is one of the key factors leading to career success. As I progress and grow in my career, this attribute is perhaps the one that resonates most with me. At every level we contribute, and add value to all that we touch in our personal and professional lives. We assign numbers and goals to the completion of projects, tasks, and events. True value can be expressed by the impact of these experiences and the results of the moments beyond experiences. As we grow in our careers, so does our value. Women need to know their value to leverage their role in their organizations!

Vantage. I have used my intuition over the years and learned how to best position myself in various situations. I am looking forward to learning from our subject expert as she shares her insights. This could be a favorite!

Veneer. In our lives, are we living as we were brought up to? Meeting the expectations of our parents, our teachers, our bosses…what about our viewpoint? Are we comfortable in our own skin, are we waiting to rise to what we think we want to be, and do we embrace who we are to the world today? This area will be a great topic to understand your personal style, and how we share that style in all we do.

Sign up today, the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum will make an impact in your life. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!


Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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