This post was written by Sharon Lynch, Director of Media Development for the Digital Learning Department.

“The power of a single idea, acted upon, can change people’s lives.” -Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS

That was the theme of the 2013 Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston.
10,000 women, including several Berklee staff members, and a few brave men, like Mycoskie, attended and spoke at this record-breaking event. The conference featured nationally recognized speakers who shared wisdom and expertise on a wide range of personal and professional development topics, helping attendees find clarity on their goals and what is needed to accomplish them. Its tagline was “Power of Us.”

This message carried throughout the day. We heard from Linda Cliatt-Wayman, and how she changed the lives of Philadelphia school children by fighting and establishing safe and effective learning environments. As a teacher she ended each school day by telling the children, “If no one told you they loved you today, know that I do.”

“If we use the Power of Us, we can make it possible that no child in this country has to live without hope.” -Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School

Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee told us of how she brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003. She sought to unite conference goers with this advice:

“When you want to go fast, you travel alone. When you want to go far, you travel together.”

Other speakers included actress and women’s activist Kerry Washington, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts, Historian/Writer Doris Kearns Goodwin, Cathie Black, a well-known media executive and former president and chairman of Hearst Magazines, and Susan Cain, author of the New York Times best-seller, Quiet, and the record-smashing TED talk on the power of introverts.

The day was a whirlwind of career advancement and personal development panels, seminars, and networking with some of the country’s most influential women. Here are just a few quotes from some of the speakers:

“Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things.” -Mary Cullinane, chief content officer and EVP, corporate strategies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

“You have to be willing to venture outside of your comfort zone. We are all just a little bit stronger than we think we are.” -Robin Roberts, Co-Anchor “Good Morning America”

“The key is to know what fits best at which parts of your life.” -Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian and Author

“Stop searching and live, be excellent in the moment everyday and present in the moment.” -Cathie Black, President and CEO, Hearst Magazines, best-selling author and Forbes 50 Most Powerful Women in Business

At the end of the day, I felt empowered and humbled and left with a few tips to share and bring into my everyday life here at Berklee:

  • Carry yourself like you know where you’re going.
  • Be the solution person, not the problem person.
  • Give yourself permission to fail and use it as a learning experience.
  • Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth.
  • Be a thought leader.
  • Stop declaring and start demonstrating.
  • Build relationships.
  • Do your current job really well.