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5 Top Takeaways From the Pathways for Women Conference

The second annual Pathways for Women Conference in August proved to be a meaningful time to connect and join the dialogue around achieving equal representation and advancing women in their careers.

Across four expert panels, two keynotes, and ample networking opportunities, attendees left feeling supported and inspired.

If you weren’t able to attend, we hope to see you next year! In the meantime, here are five top themes from the 2022 conference.

1. Show Up as You

Bring your whole self to work. Your experiences and differences are an asset. Work to honor that in yourself and others.

“Lead as yourself. Leading authentically will make you the best leader you can be.” – Jessica Altman, Executive Director, Covered California

“When I step into a mentor relationship, see me for the unique individual I am. Don’t see me as every other woman. Don’t see me as every other Black woman. Get to know me for who I am, because I’m going to have different lived and learned experiences that are going to play out very differently.” – Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer, Workday

“Oftentimes when you work in a male-dominated field, you feel like you have to conform to the men—you have to look like them, dress like them. I remained true to who I was. I never changed that.” – Lasha Boyden, U.S. Marshal, U.S. Marshals Service

2. Bring Your Values

Identify the issues and boundaries that matter in your life and do your best to balance them. It won’t be perfect all the time, but hold your values top-of-mind for a more fulfilling career.

“Balance is a completely subjective term…. You can have it all, but not at the same time. And really, you probably don’t want it all at once because you want to savor some things.” – Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California

“I have a sense [of] the things that have to be present in a week or a month and how much time I have for that…. My time is a resource that has real tradeoffs around how I spend it.” – Megan Jones Bell, PhysD., Clinical Director of Consumer and Mental Health, Google

3. Find a Mentor

Ask for help via a mentor or sponsor. Cultivate relationships and trust you can rely on when you need career advice. Read more advice on mentorship.

“The best things that happened to me were mentors and sponsors who saw the future of the law and the future of California and encouraged me to be part of it.” – Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California

“Invite a man. Is he open to having a two-way relationship where both of you learn? [With mentoring], I learn more from women.” – Raymond J. Arata, Founder and CEO, Better Man Conference

4. Banish Doubt

Imposter syndrome is common among women—that voice that says you don’t have what it takes or someone else could do it better. You are your own worst critic. Take a leap!

“You can’t possibly know everything. You need to rely on people you trust to help you make the decisions that you ultimately need to make…. I’m still growing. I’ll always be learning how to be a better leader. It’s a journey.” – Jennifer Barrera, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Chamber of Commerce

“You have to constantly ask yourself, ‘Why not me? What’s the worst thing that will happen if I put myself out there?’ You’ll probably talk yourself into it because you can’t find a reason why you shouldn’t.” – Nicole Musicco, Chief Investment Officer, CalPERS

“If you do fail, you’ll be in great company. There’s a long line of failed CEOs in Silicon Valley. Their failure is looked upon as a badge of hard-earned experience. So don’t worry about it!” – Kate Purmal, CEO, Elevate Group

5. Be an Ally

It’s not about talk. It’s not about perks. Real equitable change takes policy shifts. Be a voice that helps drive forward improvements that benefit all.

“We had to ensure we were taking care of management, and management was taking care of employees, and that we had structured programs in place. Everyone said, ‘No more muffins. We don’t need a free pizza lunch.’” – Janet A. Liang, Group President and COO, Care Delivery, Kaiser Permanente

“It’s so important that we take a ‘raise all boats’ mentality to our careers, to our organizations. As you’re seeing your peers, supervisors, and employees, recognize their talents—whoever they are, wherever they come from. We have the ability to create more inclusive and diverse organizations. We’re going to be better for doing that.” – Jessica Altman, Executive Director, Covered California