Twenty years ago, AKHIA was founded by our fearless and dedicated leader, Jan, during a time when the business world was really dominated by men. Jan defied the gender bias every step of her journey, ultimately growing her two-person firm into an agency of more than 60 employees (talk about girl power!). Driven by her own experiences, some of which consisted of her being the only female in a room, she is passionate about sharing her story to empower other women.

Jan was recently invited to be a panelist in the Rising Media Woman of Power Conference held in Cleveland, and we couldn’t be more proud. We were lucky enough to represent the AKHIA team and attend to conference, soaking in the powerful stories from Jan and a number of other strong and successful community leaders.

Here are the top 6 things we learned at the Woman of Power Conference:

  1. Realize that there’s always a plan. MaryAnn Correnti, CFO for Heinen’s, kicked off the conference with a bold, engaging and unforgettable speech. She acknowledged how, as women, we tend to dwell on a situation that went wrong. Say goodbye to the “’ ‘woulda ‘coulda ‘shoulda” and instead know that whatever happened previously just propels you for what’s next. It all works out in the end.
  2. Sit on it. While your first reaction might be to get emotional, just take a deep breath. Don’t let emotion overtake the actual situation. Before sending an email or reacting via phone, remove yourself and gain control of the conversation.
  3. Turn that to-do list upside down. No, seriously. Our own fearless leader made such a strong point. You may tend to put those harder, more difficult-to-attack items at the bottom of your list. Jan gave the advice to tackle them first. Bang out that difficult conversation. Draft that comprehensive email. You’ll be happier (and more productive) in the end. Plus, who wants to save it for 5pm?
  4. It’s really okay to be wrong. It happens, and we shouldn’t apologize for it. It’s okay to acknowledge that you had the best intentions and offer a way to course-correct. Lose the negative self-talk, be unapologetically yourself, and don’t be embarrassed if you’re wrong sometimes. Just learn from it and move on
  5. Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. Whether it’s countering a salary offer, finalizing contract details or dealing in everyday business transactions, knowing how to achieve your desired outcome is a critical life skill. Cheri Phyfer, President and General Manager, Diversified Brands, Sherwin-Williams, says understanding the negotiation styles and the key objectives of both parties are the ingredients to striking a successful deal.
  6. Win the day. Every day. This is Bob Klonk’s, CEO of Oswald Companies’, favorite mantra and one that we will also be adopting. While planning for the future is absolutely necessary, we can’t get so hung up that we forget to embrace today. An easy way to regain control of your daily routine? Make a nightly list of 1-3 objectives to achieve the next day, and see how quickly you start to achieve your bigger goals.

Jen Boroff is Account Director at AKHIA; Bethany Cook is Assistant Account Executive at AKHIA.