Here at Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp. we walk halls steeped in tradition. Well – we cruise them on scooters. But, despite our entrepreneurial spirit and start-up feel, everyday is a rush of trying to establish the appropriate combination of fun and credibility.

Spending a jam-packed Sunday with dozens of young female entrepreneurs at a leadership summit self-titled “Fierce” had me feeling everything from giddy to downright fidgety. Representing @DandB’s social media team I had several tenable things to second guess.

“Am I dressed to impress?”

“Do I have enough business cards and other features to bring to the proverbial table?”


Shutting the door to my apartment I took a deep breath and held faith that the other attendees and organizers weren’t planning on incarcerating anyone who’s middle name wasn’t Fierce. This was an inspiring networking event, not The Hunger Games. Get a grip, Mangan.

I was one of the very first to arrive which I immediately found myself apologizing for. (No – I don’t know why, either). It was luring to watch the room’s life begin to build from quiet morning energy to potent introductions.

I realized right then and there, it’s not in your best interest to be late to these dates. Although your fear may favor fashionably late, your nerves will appreciate you surveying the landscape before most arrivals. Whether you’re active in the social media space weeks before a conference or showing up at a mixer in time to tell your latest joke to the organizers, calm lends itself when you’ve found your comfort zone beforehand. Don’t be the white rabbit.

Spring training didn’t stand a chance when all the strategists and power hitters were at the USC Davidson Conference Center with me on Sunday. Our hostess, Nailah Blades, had power coming out of her pores. Pore power – get some.

Nailah wanted to be clear up front that appearances can be deceiving. Judging from the all-female crowd (plus Jason Womack), this could be perceived as an empowerment conference.

All those fierce nerves and network sweats I was having dissipated when she said, “But it goes beyond empowerment. We are already empowered. To say that I or anyone else will empower you implies that you are lacking power in some way, shape or form…We’ve got power in spades. We must simply recognize it and unleash it”.

In other words, each of our individual success isn’t about our motivation or our wherewithal – it’s about follow-through.

Speaker Samantha Bennett, Creator of Organized Artist Company, said it best while referencing the whole vision-board phenomenon. After having most friends boast of the hours they’ve spent being “inspired” on Pinterest and the droves of mentors suggesting vision-boards to manifest my business destiny (“Don’t think it, ink it!”), I’m torn regarding the efficiency of it all.

Sam Bennett, photo courtesy of Dyana Valentine

Sam clears that right up, “I love gluing things on other things…the vision is not the problem. It’s done. It’s beautiful.” Move on. Get it done.

Alaia Williams, Owner at One Organized Business, is all about jumping on the carousel of progress. She’s asking the questions that will help us start spinning. Who are you? How do you stand out? What is your story? What’s your style? What’s your persona? Visualize you. Then bottle it. That’s your brand.

Erin Haslag, Founder of Well in LA, tells us to make sure we don’t sleep with our cell phones in our bedrooms and forbids checking email until an hour after we’ve woken up, so naturally I resent her. Of course she sits next to me at lunch and her genuine energy and obvious passion for wellness (not to mention her glowing skin) makes me want to do anything she says.

We talk about similar struggles of getting to know new healthy people after a move, balancing life and business and the importance of wellness initiatives for you and your colleagues. I realize this is the stuff that tends to go by the waist side first and wonder why we don’t try to be the best us before business follow-through. You would put your oxygen mask on first, right?

Jodi Womack, Founder of No More Nylons, is a woman after my own heart: Networking as a core value to your success. In all honesty, it’s a fine line between being the pushy person that everyone knows and the persistent person that everyone thinks of first.

Jodi’s vibrant and inviting demeanor turns stoic and even stern when she says, “A desperate person isn’t trustworthy”. She reminds us to grow our circles, combine resources and share ideas organically, not only when the need arises.

Jodi Womack

So make a commitment to do that today.

  • Get it done
  • Move on
  • Be well
  • Visualize you
  • Don’t be sorry
  • Connect
  • Be Fierce. Why not?

To find out more about the Fierce Leadership Summit 2012 and get more involved with this network please explore here.

Also take a chance to familiarize yourself with the other five speakers that made the conference the best way to spend any Sunday, Danielle Dowling, Danielle Leslie, Dyana Valentine, Brittney Castro and Melanie Mills!

I’ll see you in the comments.