Marriott Women Lean In, And Should Office-bags Be A Thing?

Me at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York, earlier this year.

Here is one of my favorite summer memories, and why it matters to you.

Four Marriott executives hosted the semi-annual Marriott Women’s Leadership Gathering. Women from all leadership levels congregated at one senior executive’s beautiful Chevy Chase home. The women networked, shared stories, ideas, dilemma’s, and leadership experiences.

So awesome I ended up there!

How? I was invited to speak on the topic of “Biz Casual Power Pieces”.

This event was amazing!  It was inspiring to see female camaraderie – the spirit of women helping women succeed- instead of the rivalry that often takes place in large corporations.

Truly inspiring.

And this is why it matters to you:

While bestselling author and leadership expert, Rebecca Shambaugh, presented, and during my presentation, useful, and practical topics arose. Here are four that stand out:

1. Handling networking rejection –  You identify  someone you want to connect with at work. You send a request and don’t get a response, or  you get a response, but no meeting date is set for months. Do they not want to connect with you?

“Don’t let this bother you!”, one Marriott executive suggests. Remember that person could be very busy, just as you are. If your potential new connection says yes to meeting, don’t worry if it doesn’t happen for three or six months.

2. Networking successfully as a mom of  young children – How do you find the time to network? It’s hard to join extra curricular activities such as projects at work when you have young children at home who need you.

Shambaugh suggests picking high profile projects that will get you noticed and in front of the people you want. Key projects strategically increase your visibility. This uses your small amount of free time effectively.

3. Should I wear a suit or a dress to the highest executives’ offices? A lively debate broke out over this topic. In a business casual work environment where the dress rules are less defined, there is so much grey area. The consensus was definitely always wear a blazer into meetings with highest level management.

Regardless of whether your dress has sleeves, always wear a blazer for big meetings. One time a few women did not, they wore dresses only, and reported they felt underdressed compared to the men.

4. Officebags? What about having to schlepp all your items: iPad, notebook, cell phone, plus lipstick (yes we need our lipstick the executives agreed, laughing), from meeting to meeting? We need officebags, a few executives suggested.

What exactly is the officebag concept? Officebags are handbags destined to be left in ones office at work, to use at work. Officebags are used to carry your office tools efficiently from meeting to meeting throughout the day.

What do you think? Should officebags be a thing? Please share in the comments.



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