Informed, Inspired, and Empowered by the Young Women's Leadership Conference

The 2017 Young Women’s Leadership Conference brought together over 200 Jewish women from across the United States to network with and learn from JWI’s inspiring Women to Watch honorees. Erika Berger attended the event and wrote about her experience for JW magazine. 

by Erika Berger

Inform. Inspire. Empower.

At the conference in 2015...

At the conference in 2015...

JWI’s tagline certainly rang true last month throughout the Young Women’s Leadership Conference. I felt informed of women’s issues in the workplace and out inspired to make a difference in my community and my life and empowered to make the changes I need to see it all through. 

...And in 2016!

...And in 2016!

I’ve had the privilege of attending this conference three times and each time it is equally as impactful. As I sit in workshops and converse with other young women, I reset my goals for the year and reflect on how I’ve taken (or forgotten) the advice I’ve received thus far in my career. I’ve been known to tell my friends and fellow N.Y.C. network members this is “my favorite day of the year” and here’s why.

  1. Every woman, from a first time attendee to a seasoned speaker, is excited to be there and meet new people.
  2. I get to meet women from across the country in a variety of professions.
  3. I have the opportunity to choose from different workshops--this year, I learned more about what it takes to be a great boss in #GIRLBOSS and how to close the confidence gap in BE BOLD.
  4. The speed networking session of the event gives me a chance to meet women in my industry. 
  5. Just sitting in a room full of women looking to make a difference is a magical feeling!
  6. THE SPEAKERS ARE AMAZING. Speakers are current and former Women to Watch - all passionate, smart, talented, and most importantly, they care to take the time to get to know the conference attendees. They all seemed genuinely enthusiastic to share their wisdom and make connections. 
  7. Where else would you learn from marketing executives, on-air anchors, rabbis, actors, presidents, and CEOs all in the same day??
  8. I always walk away with a lesson learned--this year, it was to say "no", not why, and stop giving excuses when I’m unable to do something.
  9. There's always so much style inspo (note to self: I need to buy a velvet blazer).
  10. Every year, I leave feeling jazzed about all that I can do! 

I became involved in JWI when the Young Women’s Leadership Network launched in New York City about two years ago. Engaging with women throughout the New York area has been amazing, but it’s great to get together with networks across the country from D.C. to Denver and LA, seeing how inspirational women are coming together to build each other up. There’s no better feeling than a room full of women each there to make a difference in their own life or the lives of others.

To top it all off, I was able to extend my time in D.C. and attend the annual Women to Watch Gala Luncheon to hear more from these amazing women. They touched on topics from mentors that have shaped their lives, to what it means to be a Jewish women professional workplace, to what each of us can do to fuel the #MeToo movement.

Once again it certainly was my favorite weekend of the year and I can’t wait to share my experience with even more women in advance of next year’s conference!