There’s always one girl on her phone while influential leaders give free life advice, and you always want to say to her, “Hey, they could’ve packaged all this into a book and made you buy it. Listen up!” At GenHERation’s Los Angeles Summer Leadership Series, that girl on her phone was me — but for a good reason.
I attended the Summer Leadership Series to cover it for a local news outlet, so I wanted to do my job thoroughly. That meant being the first girl to arrive and recording every cough and piece of advice the panelists emitted, plus avidly taking down notes as a reference. My avid note-taking also means that I have every piece of advice you could want from the four inspiring leaders at GenHERation’s LA Summer Leadership Series: Angela Milano (EY’s West Region Community Engagement Leader), Jill Dickerson (Senior Vice President of Programming and Development at OWN), Lauren Miller Rogen (Filmmmaker and Founder of Hilarity for Charity), and Sheera Goren (Attorney and Founder of Dinating).
Mentors were a large part of the panelists’ discussion. Dickerson described how her mentor helped her make a breakthrough. She said, “What I learned from [my mentor] was I’m really good at [writing] structure. I’m really good at a piece of the creative writing process. So, I owned that, and I kind of moved past thinking I have to be a certain kind of creative.” Goren detailed how to tell when you’ve found the mentor for you. “If my CEO [and mentor] started selling paper clips, I’d probably sell those paper clips with him.” Goren said. “He inspires me to do better and be better and really thinking about what kind of leadership you grow under and what kind of leader you want to be [is important especially when it comes to mentors].”
What kind of leader you want to be and what environment you want to be in is also important when it comes to self-fulfillment and growth. Sometimes you have to force yourself into changing, Miller suggests. “Placing yourself into the environment you want to grow into is such an important way to grow.” Goren explained how she identified what fulfilled her and would later inspire her to create Dinating. “In social settings I wasn’t really comfortable, but for some reason I went into restaurants and then I thought I was the mayor.” Goren said jokingly. “I’m not that extroverted in situations I don’t know, but it was this one area [that I excelled in].”
The panelists also offered their best pieces of life advice. Milano said, “Go through failure knowing that you’ll go forward.” Dickerson said, “Always show up. Take every opportunity. Take every job interview. Have every conversation, and give yourself that fighting chance.” Miller said, “You’re always striving for a perfect ten. That doesn’t exist.” Goren said, “You’re always going to see people in these amazing jobs and amazing companies or they look so happy. But the grass is always greener, and trust that your grass will be just as green, okay? People are looking at you thinking the same thing.”
I’m still searching for what fulfills me in the way the panelists are fulfilled by what they do, but the Summer Leadership Series reassured me that I can and will find it. GenHERation created this tight knit community of girls who mostly didn’t even know each other until the day of the Summer Leadership Series that still cheered loudly for each other during the team bonding challenge. GenHERation allowed me to be inspired by knowledgeable, incredible, and hilarious women. GenHERation gave me the chance to pitch my own social business idea, and when I didn’t, the chance to listen to others’ pitches and learn. But most importantly, GenHERation’s Summer Leadership series made me realize that no matter what I do I want to have and be a part of positive, inspiring, girl-powered groups just like GenHERation because they are what fulfill me.
Contributor: Bethany Huang