Earlier this month, four women from the Emergenetics Denver office were able to attend the Institute for Career Advancement Needs, Inc. (ICAN) Women’s Leadership Conference in Omaha, NE.  The theme of the conference was ‘Be Happy: Lead On’.  A whole conference on happiness, leadership and how it impacts business results!

The conference kicked off with author of The Happiness Advantage and positive psychology expert, Shawn Achor.  Just like Shawn’s TED Talk, his presentation on positive psychology was humorous, engaging and enlightening. He suggests that to be successful, we should first seek to be happy. Happiness is the fuel that can propel us forward.

Shawn’s sage words of wisdom for achieving happiness? View stress as a challenge rather than a threat and you can reap positive benefits. And- if we study average, we become average.

Breakout sessions offered a variety of topics focused on influence, leadership, professional growth and confidence facilitated by some very powerful and impactful speakers and presenters.  Discussion about the 5 key people to have in your network had participants buzzing, comparing notes and networking.

And who are those 5 people? 1) A Cheerleader, 2) A Mentor, 3) A Coach, 4) A Peer, and 5) A Friend.

After lunch, general sessions resumed with great messages from Mary Prefontaine, President of ICAN, and Dr. Sherry Cooper, author, economic advisor and professor of economics. They inspired us to trust our own uniqueness, and reminded us that growth requires leaving your comfort zone.  Rosalind Hudnell, VP of Employee Communication and External Affairs at Intel Corporation, and Alice Brooks, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Roominate, had a lively discussion about women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The conference concluded with keynote speaker Norah O’Donnell, Co-Host of CBS This Morning and Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News.  Her message about the financial power of women was inspiring. She also explained that she didn’t believe in the term ‘work life balance’ but rather ‘work life blend’.  It’s difficult, if not impossible to balance work and life, but to find a blend that works for her seemed to make the most sense.  The key factor, Norah stressed, is being present whether you are at work or at home.

By the end of the conference, women left feeling energized and motivated (and most with Pharrell’s song, Happy, stuck in our head!).  ICAN and Emergenetics have a special relationship, namely through Dr. Geil Browning.  Geil is both the founder of Emergenetics and ICAN.  Geil and Fran Root created ICAN in 1981 in Omaha, NE after identifying a need to provide women in the community new opportunities to excel in business.  10 influential women founded ICAN and their vision has turned into the wonderful organization who hosts this annual conference.  With over 2,000 attendees from 16 states and a 97% satisfaction rate, this conference left quite a few attendees feeling “HAPPY!”

For more information on ICAN, please visit their website at http://www.icanglobal.net/.

Ican Collage