By Jennifer Crain
Nancy LaPointe was paddle boarding on Diablo Lake when the wind blew in out of nowhere. The water, normally still enough that she can see wildlife far below the surface, was suddenly white-capped and choppy, causing her board to slap against the surface.
A moment like this makes her heart race. She double-checks her gear. In her own words, the Olympia-based financial planner says that even after 72 paddle boarding excursions, she isn’t comfortable on the water. She isn’t a good swimmer.
Asked why she continues to participate in an activity that can be anxiety provoking, she answers, “I find it exhilarating, meditative and challenging. And that’s life, isn’t it? You never know what the conditions will be.”
The same resolve and practicality led LaPointe to spearhead planning for the Day of Empowerment in 2008. That year the economy changed dramatically, increasing, in her view, the need for women to stay positive, focus on their strengths and make connections in the community. It was successful enough to merit a second year, and a third. The fourth annual Day of Empowerment is taking place on September 28th.
“When I looked around and saw who was successful,” LaPointe says, “I saw that all of them had a lot of other people around them who believed in them and encouraged them.”
When LaPointe was a student, the modus operandi for women in business focused on weaknesses. Women were encouraged to deny inclinations to collaborate, she says, and urged to adopt an individualized focus on their careers, an approach she thinks should be turned on its head.
“Women thrive via relationships. We’re good at integrating, and find success in places where we feel broad support,” she says. “We all find that we have more in common than not if we allow ourselves to peel back the onion.”
To encourage this, LaPointe gathered a team to launch an event that focuses on the value of interconnectedness and the adeptness of women in forming relationships.
They developed a daylong lifestyle and business event to attract and be relevant to women in different stages of their lives. The wide variety of workshops, from emotional intelligence to yoga to building a personal brand, are designed to propel women away from the myth of thinking they need to compartmentalize the different aspects of their lives to be successful.
“Women thrive and are better able to succeed in situations where there are relationships. We need to concentrate on that. Relationships are part of your success, not part of the stress,” she says.
Event organizers emphasize the open nature of the event, saying everyone from CFOs to busy moms will find something to help them grow personally and professionally. It’s also tightly focused on serving South Sound women, LaPointe says. “No one should have to go to Tacoma or Seattle for an event like this.”
Larissa Stewart, one of the event’s organizers, says the overarching theme this year is communication. Keynote speaker Jen Mueller, called “America’s Expert Talker,” will speak on removing workplace communication barriers. Life coach Diane Easley will lead the group in a follow-up activity, speed-friending, designed to encourage participants to make quick one-on-one connections.
The day will be bookended with breakout sessions. Three will take place in the morning, on subjects such as time management, career changes and the use of social media. Afternoon workshops will be more whimsical, focused on personal enjoyment and growth. Participants will choose yoga, improvisational theater, a musical jam session or a workshop on creating a one-year personal vision. A growing list of presenters and workshop topics are being added to their web site and Facebook page daily.
“There’s something here for everyone,” says Stewart, whose presentation will address generational differences in the workplace. “There will be a variety of topics presented and a variety of women available to inspire attendees, whether it be about something new in business or learning to manage time in a new way.”
During the morning workshops, cooking classes will also be offered, an example of the celebratory focus and multi-faceted nature of the event. Organizers say the morning cooking classes, taught by local chefs Carolyn Lakewold of Donedei Wines and Amie Soltis, the pastry chef at Great Wolf Lodge, are the quickest to fill up.
The event fills up quickly, too. Last year they sold out so organizers are encouraging people to buy tickets now. Registration closes the day before the event, if tickets don’t run out first. Cost, including all meals, is $80.
Day of Empowerment
Friday, September 28, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thurston County Fairgrounds
Heritage Hall and Exhibition Hall