CompanyMy Day at the Dis-Empowering Women’s Conference

March 7, 2012 –

I recently attended the annual “Empowering” Women’s Conference put on by a very prestigious organization (which I will not name because I actually really love the organization as a whole). Last year I wanted to attend, but the schedule was such fluff and bullshit that I couldn’t bring myself to go. I ended up writing the planning committee asking for a more substantial line-up in the future, so that I could justify taking a day off work to attend.

This year the line-up looked a little better, although the topics still were a little off for my taste, but what do I have to lose? I would always rather do something and discover it’s not for me than not do something and regret it later.

Cut to the day of the event – dress is “business” or “business casual”, so we’ve got a ton of ladies milling around in their cute suits acting “businessy”, networking away over coffee and donuts, preparing for their day of “empowerment”.

But here’s the disconnect – the organizers are asking women to pay to attend, take a day off work, dress up as if they’re headed to a business meeting, then offer them goody bags filled with make-up, nonsensical lectures that provided zero take-aways and topics that don’t get to the heart of women’s issues. Who’s organizing this damn thing?

This couldn’t be more insulting, demeaning, and DISempowering!

Maybe the problem is that the range of relevant topics for women is great – young women just starting into a career may need help figuring out how to balance career and family whereas older women may need help understanding the social media connection to business, entrepreneurial women may want help with learning how to run a business while those working in large corporations may prefer information on how to break through “boys club” mentality. Whatever the case, none of these were covered, or anything remotely close.

Perhaps the urgency of our times is what made this so infuriating. People have real concerns and problems and for someone to take a day off work in this economy – particularly a working woman who may also be balancing a full home life and kids’ schedules – they need value for their time!

I was so disappointed in the morning workshop sessions that I ended up leaving before lunch. Who knows, maybe I missed all the good stuff, but walking out of that ridiculous conference was the most EMPOWERING thing that happened to me that day.


Lolo Siderman received her degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of business in 2010, after graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in graphic design. She has successfully started and either managed or co-managed four companies in a variety of industries, such as design, real estate services, and sports training.

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