Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference attendees creating supportive community

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has meant many have felt isolated working from home, that didn’t prevent attendees of the 2020 Women, Wealth and Wellness conference to find ways to connect virtually. 

Woman smiling for camera.

“It's always a good reminder from others who've had more experience or done different things throughout their life to say, ‘You can do this too,’” said Missy Irons, purchasing manager at Cooper Tire. “It makes you have a little bit more confidence in yourself to get over these hurdles.” 

Irons attended the 2020 Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference virtually last year with her colleagues, Emily Docherty, global product analyst and Katelyn Bloom, global compensation manager. 

Docherty said the Cooper Women's Network was going through transitional leadership changes at the time, and the conference worked well as an opportunity to get to know her group of peers better and connect on shared experiences. 

Woman smiling for camera.

One of the biggest takeaways Docherty said she received at the conference was how powerful the use of mantras can be to help ground people when things feel out of control. The mantra she now uses is “be a duck, let things roll off your back,” as a reminder that people make mistakes, and that they are an essential part of the career journey to learn and to grow. 

“To me, just having the experience with a group of women that are all empowering each other, can just carry you forward, for the rest of the day and for the rest of the week,” she said. “And even for whatever year you’re going through.” 

For Irons, hearing other women share their frustrations and struggles while being in the early stages of the pandemic helped her feel less alone while she tried to juggle having kids at home and working full-time. 

“It also helped remind me that you never really know what other people are going through outside the workplace,” she said. “And as a manager, I tried to be more appreciative or understanding of the fact that my team is delivering and getting their job done.” 

Woman smiling for camera.

Bloom said the book, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, discussed at the conference was “monumental” for her. 

The book gave her a new perspective on starting a new role in a different area than she had previously been in. She originally planned to read and understand as much as she could about this new department in the beginning but instead focused on making connections with her new peers and colleagues. She said that ended up being the most helpful as she built a network of people she could rely on. 

“When you're new in an area, you need to network first, and grindstone later,” she said. “Because the more you network upfront, the more people you're going to have to help you when you don't know the answer. Which is inevitably going to happen. You'll never learn it all on your own in a vacuum.”