At netlogx, we are always encouraged to explore professional development, especially in leadership positions. I recently had the pleasure of completing the Bloombase Experience for Advanced Woman Leaders (AWL), an immersive development journey designed to help women define and refine their leadership style and impact. Over the course of six months, eight other women and I met once a month for six all-day meetings. Our sessions focused on multiple topics including:
- Relationship management
- Being a leader
- Advancing forward
I went into this experience thinking that it would be based mostly on professional growth and how to be a better leader at netlogx, but it went beyond that. The experience at AWL empowered the group of women and me to take the skills we developed and learn how to apply them to both our professional and personal lives.
Why AWL Was Different
The Bloombase AWL made you really dig deep into yourself. At the beginning of the class, we made a timeline of our lives which included all the events and experiences that happened in the past to make us the way we are today. It allowed me to take stock of what things were important in my life and what should be important. I asked myself questions like “what makes up who I am?” and “what are my personal goals?” Discussing and answering these types of questions meant that I could envision a future version of myself. At the end of the class, Bloombase even asked us to write an “article” about our future selves.
What I Learned
Through discussion with the other women in the group, I have learned new skills that I can use in both my personal and professional lives. One of those major skills is to be more empathetic, understanding that people have different communication styles and priorities. I need to listen to others instead of immediately trying to solve everyone’s problems. I also learned the importance of having that same empathy for myself. It’s ok for my team to know I am human with limitations and vulnerabilities. It isn’t fair to over-commit myself or my team.
The cohorts also had an honest conversation about the struggle of work-life balance. There is pressure on women to have a productive work life as well as a fulfilling personal life without sacrificing one for the other. We concluded that there is no perfect ratio. The balance between family, career, and friendships is whatever is needed at that time. We should be upfront about our goals and priorities and be flexible if they need to shift.
Not all of the AWL experience was introspective. We learned from others’ challenges, mistakes, styles in leadership, and team development. I was inspired by the influential women that spoke at each session. Each woman who spoke had real struggles, hurdles, and triumphs. Some underwent unexpected changes that made them take a real look at what they wanted out of their personal and professional lives.
Just because I finished this training, it doesn’t mean that I am abandoning all the knowledge and connections I obtained there. Thanks to Bloombase’s alumni events, I can make a lifelong commitment to my growth and development as well as keep in touch with the other women that went through the experience with me. I made connections with these women and saw that we had more in common with each other than we ever knew, and not necessarily on a professional level. We’ve even set up a social media group to keep in touch with each other and give one another personal and professional updates.
I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to attend Bloombase Experience for Advanced Woman Leaders and will use the skills I learned and the friendships I made to better myself.