Invent Your Future is the name of a Conference that Ruth Stergiou co-founded with Denise Brosseau in 2005 and of which Ruth is the CEO. The event will take place on March 22, 2012, at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
I like the phrase: “Invent Your Future,” as even though women have come a long way over the last 50 years, we still have a lot to accomplish! Recent political events show that women might easily be dragged into the past, and we will once again face an uphill battle if we do not take control over our future. We must realize that “The Game is Changing,” as the theme of the Conference says — in other words, if we do not make it clear that the times of taking women for granted are over. Changing the game means strengthening women as both individuals AND as a group forever.
Individual successes of a number of women should not make us forget that parity is still not here: women’s salaries are still lower than men’s, and as of December 2011, the United States ranks 78th among 190 countries in its percentage of women serving in national parliaments (not to mention the dismal percentage of women in the boardrooms, etc.). Definitely, as my friend Gloria Feldt puts it, “Women need to lead their own way forward!”
No matter how extraordinary the success of some individuals, it’s not enough to admire trailblazers, as this may also implicitly condone the idea that the bar must be higher for women, which might be in turn somewhat intimidating. The importance of a conference such as Invent Your Future is that it welcomes an amazingly large spectrum of women, as I could see for myself last year, ranging from women who “made it” to women who don’t feel “quite ready” one way or the other or are somewhat nervous at the idea of getting out of the “comfort zone” they have been assigned. This conference is designed to move women from corrective and defensive activism to a transformative attitude, offering great keynote speakers (Reid Hoffman, Martha Beck, Gina Amaro Rudan and Nandini Ramani), as well as theme-based and “Share the Wisdom” roundtable sessions. Any company in Silicon Valley (or elsewhere) that is serious about empowering women should encourage its female workforce to attend.
Invent Your Future is all about the power of empowering women. Ruth Stergiou’s bio says that she has dedicated 20+ years of her life to ”foster the retention, development and acceleration of women leaders,” and this is undeniably the case. This conference is one of the ways she is creating momentum for women, as collective power is key to scaling individual successes. Attend!