10 Things I Learned at a Summit for Ambitious Women

  • By Koa Beck, DailyWorth’s Senior Editor
  • December 11, 2014

Bullish Conference

When I was a wee lass, my grandmother’s common refrain was that I was “a very enterprising young lady.” I used to tell her that when I grew up, I wanted to own newspapers and write novels. As an editor at DailyWorth and a published short story writer, I like to think I’m halfway there.

So, as an enterprising young lady, I was delighted to attend the second annual Bullish Conference — a summit for ambitious women in Miami, Florida, hosted by Get Bullish founder Jen Dziura.

Get Bullish, a career and business advice website, addresses Millennial women who aren’t sure they want to “lean in” to a corporate career or traditional job (especially when there aren’t that many of them anymore).Get Bullish advocates designing your own career by finding fulfilling ways to create value in what you do.

The intimate conference of about 40 ladies (or bullicorns, as they self-identify) allowed for optimal networking, learning, discussion, coaching, and workshopping about the professional world. Here’s what I learned watching them build their empires poolside.

1. When you negotiate, remember that it’s a discussion.   

Jamie Lee reminded us that when negotiating anything, both parties have their objectives. While it’s imperative to prepare for negotiations, the point is not necessarily to blurt out a rehearsed script and then clam up and wait anxiously for your prize. Negotiation is about listening as much as it is about being clear on what you came for — but pivot appropriately based on the response.

Remembering that negotiating is a conversation is also helpful if you stumble into some pushback. “No” doesn’t necessarily mean no until the end of time. “No” is not a rejection of you, Jamie says. Sometimes it simply means “not right now.”

Nevertheless, nobody has time for this.

2. More ways to to ask for more money, money, money.

As senior editor of a lady career website, you’d better believe I have my own running list of talking points when asking for more cash money. But at #BullCon14, I learned six more thanks to Jamie:

“I’d really like to work with you on this. What would be the best way for us to move forward?”

“I’m invested in helping the company grow. How can I take on more responsibilities that will expand my role?”

“What is your philosophy and practice on compensation, raises, and bonuses?”

“I think it’s great that the company believes in fairly compensating its employees. I’d love to hear why you chose me as a candidate for this position.”

“Based on my research, the salary range for this position (in this industry and area) is $X-$Y. What can we do to bring my salary closer to market rate?“

“Would you agree that my contributions have added value to the organization?”

3. We could all use a little vocal training, ladies.

As a writer, I’m constantly looking to refine the power of my own words. However, this should also extend to my physical presence and actual voice — attributes that are generally backburnered as I make my deadlines, read books, and generally look for ways to avoid contact with other humans. I can’t help that I’m an introvert, but I can work on the pandemic that is baby talk, uptalk, and vocal fry.

Vocal coaches and featured speakers Casey Erin Clark and Julie Fogh absolutely agree.

I’m from Los Angeles (like, the Valley), so nobody knows better than me how pervasive these vocal affectations can be. I’ve worked to leave my Valley Girl accent back home, but I could also stand to curb a few more question-statements and cut back on the “likes.”

4. You can be your own assistant (if you have the resources).

Haley Mlotek, editor of The Hairpin, pointed out during her presentation that virtually anything can be automated these days. Assuming you have the resources, you can streamline so many parts of your day with a combination of apps and devices. It’s just a matter of putting the proper systems in place. She advocates aiming for structure and consistency, and not necessarily just a fixed routine.

5. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you should have your hands in everything.

This is challenging for me as much as I’m sure it is for a lot of ambitious women. We didn’t get to where we are by letting other people run the show. Our vision, directives, opinions, and protocols (along with some serious networking) most likely landed us our positions of power. But when you’re the boss, you should be delegating, delegating, delegating. Haley pointed out that when you’re the head of the team, you should either be delegating or automating the work that slows you down.

6. When you’re the boss, you judge what’s working and not working.

We could all use feedback in nearly every professional corner of our lives (from our managing style to our ideas). But when you’re the lady in charge, you and only you decide what the snags in your business/organization/company are. You cannot rely solely on external feedback, Haley pointed out. You, quite literally, decide what is a problem and what isn’t.

For more tips from power players, read on.

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