Earlier this month I went to a tech conference in the Bay Area and found myself watching a stream of men on stage talking about how they had been mentored throughout their journey as well as the opportunities that had presented themselves. This admittedly left me a bit dispirited because looking at them, I couldn’t relate.

“I cover Silicon Valley… And my life is pretty much a sausage fest!” Awesome quote from @karaswisher #LeadOnCA

— Jane Finette (@janefinette) February 24, 2015

 So it was with special delight that I signed up for the ‘Lead On – Conference for Women’ being held in Santa Clara. A full day of passionate, professional women talking about the obstacles, triumphs and strategies for working in today’s world.

“Gender diversity is a systemic challenge. This challenge will not be solved by women alone. We have to change the dialogue” –  Bina Chaurasia

Of course, being near Silicon Valley there was a strong emphasis on tech, but the  schedule was well rounded with a strong emphasis on communication and well-being.

Never before have I walked into a room of 5000 professional women. The act alone was empowering. #leadonCA — JuliaHJackson (@Juliahj) February 25, 2015

Both the morning and lunch keynotes had a powerhouse line-up, including my personal favorites Brene Brown, Diane Von Furstenburg and Hilary Rodham Clinton.

“If you’re true to yourself, you’re true to your mistakes. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy but at least you’re in control, of yourself and of your mistakes.” – Diane Von Furstenburg

20150224_123958-2-150x150-5851266By far my favorite break out session was by Janine Driver (a former FBI consultant) on reading and deciphering body language. Non-verbal communication has always been a big interest of mine and her presentation was packed with interesting information delivered with lots of humor & a bit of swearing (so she was right up my alley!). Janine does a 3 day intensive at The Body Language Institute that I’m thrilled to be attending later this year.

“When verbal and non-verbal don’t connect, believe the non-verbal” – Janine Dryer

I attended this conferences alone and was feeling a bit quiet (rare, but it does happen!) so I didn’t network much, but with over 5,000 women in attendance there were certainly plenty of opportunities if I’d have been in the right mindset. Instead I kind of kept to myself and just soaked up the experience of being in a room with so many of my female peers. I’ve learned to accept that sometimes inspiration is more a whisper than a roar.