By Latisha Schmitt, IT Inclusion and Diversity Leader, Humana
Eighteen years into my technology career, I had a deep awakening that I needed to make a significant shift in the trajectory of my professional future. I was working on my well-being and the better I felt about myself personally, it became clearer that I wanted to give to others in a purposeful way. I shifted from leading people, processes and technology in my company to leading Inclusion and Diversity for the IT organization. It was then that I had my first opportunity to attend the Louisville Integrating Women Leaders’ conference and wow, was I ready!
That first conference for me was just the start of getting energized about this new step in my career; it was exactly what I needed to light my fire and engage in a community of women and men who shared similar values around integrating women leaders.
I still practice a few of my take-aways from that year: how to start an engaging presentation and how to give a 90 second update using a brain based conversation for results.
The following year, I had the opportunity to lead a roundtable experience for the sponsor companies where we discussed the role executives have in their organizations to recognize hurdles women encounter in corporate culture on their way to the C-suite; in addition to how executives influence the culture and instill confidence in women around them. It was inspiring to hear their experiences and know that we can do more together.
Last year, my engagement grew with a breakout session I was invited to share called “Live Out Loud!” The invitation came after I had shared a story at the IWL and Women Influencing Louisville partner “Males as Allies” event and it became my theme for the year. The participation and energy in the Louisville “Live Out Loud” session was carried to the Indianapolis conference later in the year where I shared the message with almost 200 participants in a breakout session there. The networking, stories, and laughter at these events do often turn into opportunities to expand your influence!
Building on the momentum over the past few years, I shifted my motto to not only help others see the strengths that they have but to also make it part of my mission to lift others up. Sharing the stage with my friend and former colleague, AJ Hubbard, on April 25 at this year’s conference as co-emcees is the highlight of this journey!
I look forward to introducing the amazing experiences the attendees will have throughout the day, sharing joy and fun, and celebrating this mission we are on for our strong women leaders to be seen for the impact they are making every day. The conference this year promises to lift you up, along with your team members, to the next level of owning your voice and your power.