By: Ayana Scriven, Marketing Communications Manager at the RSPA.
Confidence. Community. Self-care. These are the first words that come to mind when I think about my time at the Wnet Leadership Summit, held Sept. 27-28 at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, GA. Wnet (Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions) is a professional non-profit that champions women in the payments and financial technology industries.
The theme of the conference was centered around power. And there was a lot of power in the room. This year’s summit brought record attendance with over 500 women joining together from payment companies across the nation. As a first-time attendee, I left feeling empowered to identify my own superpower that can help elevate my projects with the RSPA.
The goal of the summit was to transform reality for women in the workplace. Women are often socialized to feel their opinions aren’t valued which leads them to silence themselves in their work environment. We had a chance to identify how these common experiences came to be and how we can break the cycle for ourselves and the next generation of women. The experience for women in the workplace transforms once we develop confidence to speak up for what we believe. Confidence is key to using your power.
Conference education focused on methods to manage ourselves so that our power may shine from within. There were just as many sessions focused on personal health as there were on payment trends. One speaker challenged payments professionals to assess their daily routine. Do you take enough time to relax your mind and body? If not, add a block to your calendar to do so. There was even a breakout session with a full-body workout to focus on strength, stamina, and stability. I appreciate that there was an emphasis on physical wellness because you move with clarity when you feel good.
Additional learnings from the Wnet Leadership Summit 2022:
- Don’t be shy: This sentiment was emphasized in the first-time attendee orientation session to encourage networking and make the most of our time at the summit. This advice can be applied in the workplace as we must participate in order to receive a takeaway. As the saying goes, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.”
- Innovation is everywhere, and it can be messy: The retail IT industry looks very different than it did ten years ago, or even five years ago. The industry will continue to evolve, and we must find creative methods to keep up. The summit facilitated discussions related to the future of cryptocurrency, BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later), etc. Each session revealed that we will not always have the answer, but the desire to solve a problem should keep us energized in the payments space.
- Express confidence now: Women tend not to speak up in the workplace until we’ve developed years of experience. General session speaker Joy Canonigo of Discover simply put it, “Don’t wait until your 40s to be confident.” She cites lack of confidence as a reason that women are not highly represented in leadership. Challenge yourself to speak up even when you feel nervous. Trust yourself, trust your power.
- Listen at Level 3: Our goal should be to listen to understand and be helpful. Level 1 listening is simply not talking while another person speaks. Level 2 listening is listening to another person and not speaking while they speak. Level 3 listening involves not talking, listening, and paying attention to everything going on around the speaker. Listening at this level allows you to fully grasp the message and respond in a helpful manner.
- Nurture your community: The fear of rejection can stop us from building community. It can also stop you from keeping your community. We have to nurture relationships to keep them active. Connect with people and keep communicating with them on a consistent basis. Reach out to a colleague when they cross your mind. These habits will create a dependable community for a lifetime.
- You must have a purpose to effectively use your superpower: General session speaker Jennifer Keitt, a media personality and the Co-Founder/Chief Empowerment Officer of The Keitt Institute, spoke on unleashing your superpower. She recognized that you must know what you’re fighting for in order for your power to be fully utilized. You can identify your purpose by identifying the villain worth taking down in your own superhero story.
Wnet hosted an extraordinary summit that emphasized how confidence, community, and self-care can transform the way we express our power in the workplace. One may be expressive, another can be action-driven, another can shine in a supportive role. It is our duty to identify our strengths and bring that power to our team.
Note: At the conference, Wnet announced the organization was rebranding to PayTech Women. Follow this link for additional details.
Ayana Scriven is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). Ayana has experience in sales and strategic development and has earned her MBA from Claflin University. Ayana plays a key role in member engagement, new member recruitment, event promotion, messaging strategy & execution, and content creation. She also assists the Director of Marketing and Partnerships with execution of demand creation programs and brand awareness. For more information, contact AScriven@GoRSPA.org