Conference First-Timer? Andrea shares her advice.


Heading to the JWI Young Women’s Leadership conference for the first time? We’re super excited to meet you! Here’s some tips and tricks I’ve picked up:

By Andrea Deck


Be ready to meet a million people. What does that mean? For me it means a healthy dose of caffeine beforehand, and bringing business cards. I also brush up on my elevator pitch the week beforehand so I can be ready with an up-to-date three sentence “who I am, and why you should care”. It also means the conference is set up for you to meet people- there is ‘speed networking,’ tables with hosts in the beginning, and coffee catch ups. I’m ALWAYS surprised how excited everyone is to connect- from the speakers, to the committee, to boards across the country, to whoever is sitting next to me- it’s a really friendly, welcoming crowd.


Wear comfortable shoes. It’s a conference. The bathrooms are down the hall and the snacks always seem to be the farthest from the room my session is in. This is also a statement about what I’m wearing in general- it is a room full of women that is way more interested in who you are than what you’re wearing. I usually wear comfortable business professional clothing in layers for the cold December day, but everyone seems much more likely to ask about which session I was in than where I bought my shirt.

giphy (1).gif

Follow up! Last year I set a goal to follow up with everyone who gave me their business card during the conference. Every single one of them emailed me back! A year later- I still have coffee with three of them, and recently featured someone I met at the conference with my organization.

giphy (2).gif

Not sure what’s going on? Feeling a little intimidated by going alone? Sign up for a buddy when you register (say you’re a first time attendee!), or feel free to reach out to me ([email protected])! We also have a Pre-Conference Fall Gathering happening on November 12th, where you can meet other women planning to attend the conference in December.

Can’t wait to see you on December 2nd!


You may also like…