Speaker Articles

An Excerpt from Celeste Headlee’s Latest Book, “Do Nothing”

Excerpted from DO NOTHING copyright © 2020 by Celeste Headlee. Used by permission of Harmony Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Do Less, Live More #DoNothingWe answer work emails on Sunday night. We read endless articles about how to hack our brains to achieve more productivity. We crop our photos and use filters before we post them on social media to earn approval. We read only the first couple paragraphs of the articles we find interesting because we don’t have time to read them in their entirety. We are overworked and overstressed, constantly dissatisfied, and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. We are members of the cult of efficiency, and we’re killing ourselves with productivity.

The passage at the beginning of this Introduction was written in 1932, not long after the stock market crash of 1929, which caused the Great Depression. Russell’s description of the “cult of efficiency” predates World War II, the rise of rock and roll, the civil rights movement, and the dawn of the twenty-first century. More important, in my mind: It was written before the creation of the internet and smartphones and social media.

In other words, technology didn’t create this cult; it simply added to an existing culture. For generations, we have made ourselves miserable while we’ve worked feverishly. We have driven ourselves for so long that we’ve forgotten where we are going, and have lost our capacity for “light-heartedness and play.” Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Life Balance Tagged , |

10 Work-at-Home Tips from the CFW Team

Mother using digital tablet to work from home while Father and son use laptop. They are sitting at the kitchen table

Since the Conferences for Women team is a remote one, we thought it might be useful to share some of the lessons we have learned in how to work effectively at home. Here are some highlights from our team:

  1. Shower and dress in real clothes every day. I’ve done the “It’s 5 p.m. and I’m still in my PJs” and have learned it’s just not good for my energy or my family’s. (Laura H.)
  2. Don’t watch or listen to the news during work hours. That’s tough especially now. But world events are not going to change just because I am watching them happen real-time. (Laura H.)
  3. Pick up the phone and talk. It’s easy to get isolated by just emailing all day. It’s a simple thing, but picking up the phone to talk to a colleague for 10 minutes helps more than you would think! (Michelle V.)
  4. With kids, make a routine just like a school day. They have to wake up and shower and eat breakfast at a normal time. Depending on their age, morning is for school work then getting outside. After lunch, they can watch a movie and play computer games or go on social media. Then they help make dinner and, after dinner, is family time. I’m also all for keeping a normal bed time. When my son was in the hospital on and off for a year, routine was so important. We had reading time, movie time, music time, video game time, art time, normal bed time. I taped the schedule on the wall. It was everything. (Laura H.)
  5. Do your best to communicate clear boundaries to your children regarding your work time and space. Try color-coded signs to hang on your office door, or come up with hand signals to let them know when you shouldn’t be disturbed. (Danielle L.)
  6. Take advantage of breaktime with kids around. Don’t eat lunch in front of your computer. Eat with your family, take 10 minutes to play, or go for a walk together. (Carolyn G.)
  7. Find “safe spaces” when needed. When all else fails and its chaos at home with the kids being nuts, I can be found in my bathroom with locked doors hiding to conduct a call. HAHA. Wish I was joking but I am not. (Jess B.)
  8. Tap your friends and neighbors to take turns with the kids at your house/their house (Sarah S.)
  9. Shut down your computer at night. My desk is in the living room in a small house and if I hear or see emails come in, I will head to the computer instead of spending time with my family. Last fall my kids commented they had only seen the back of my head for days on end.  I started shutting down for real; if I still have work to do at night it is after kids are in bed. (Laura H.)
  10. Give yourself grace. It’s OK if your kids eat mac-n-cheese three nights in a row and watch too much TV if it gets your family through the day. (Laura H.)

What are you discovering works for you? Please send your tips  to [email protected], and we’ll pass along highlights in our next newsletter. 


More from the April 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Embrace the Unknown, Life Balance Tagged |

5 Ways to Create the Career You Truly Want

Erica Williams Simon

At 27, Erica Williams Simon came to an important recognition. She was “successful” but not happy.

“So, I did what we are never supposed to do—especially as women, especially as black women: We’re never supposed to quit. You don’t quit. Well yes, you do and I did,” she recently said.

What she discovered in the time of self-exploration that followed was that many cultural and generational narratives had shaped her idea of what it means to be successful that had nothing to do with what she actually wanted out of life.

Now, the woman who had been listed on several “30 under 30” lists as a rising political star and TV commentator, is on a mission to help others understand the cultural stories that shape their lives and create new ones that will lead them to the life they actually want.

The author of the 2019 book, You Deserve the Truth, Erica shared these five insights with the Conference for Women: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Career Choices, Transitions, Goals & Priorities Tagged , , |

Want to Advance in Your Career? Try These 5 Ways to Make Yourself Known

Gabrielle Simpson

If people were promoted just for being great at their job, there would undoubtedly be more women in leadership roles. But while leaders need to continue to work to make workplaces more equitable, there are also things women can do to help advance their own careers—and one of the most important may be making yourself known.

At least, it certainly worked for Gabrielle Simpson Gambrell, who advanced from a production assistant role to the first black woman to become Vice President and Head of Marketing & Communications at Barnard College by the age of 27.

She recently shared five of her strategies with the Conference for Women community. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Job Advancement Tagged , , |

3 Ways to Use Technology to Make Your Life Easier

Setphanie Humphrey

Stephanie Humphrey is a Technology & Lifestyle Contributor at ABC News who considers it her job to show people how technology can make their jobs easier.

Here are three tips she shared with the Conference for Women community: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Life Balance, Innovation Tagged , , |

CFW Board Member on How to Support Women of Color in the Workplace

Tamara Fields

We asked Tamara Fields, Texas Conference for Women board member and Austin Office Managing Director at Accenture, what leaders and white women allies can do to help women of color advance in their workplace. Here are her answers: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement Tagged , |

What It Will Take for All Women to Advance

Minda Harts

Minda Harts noticed something recently while being on the circuit of women’s events over the past year. When she signed copies of her new book, The Memo, she rarely saw a white woman. That’s not surprising perhaps, given the book’s subtitle, What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. But it is, in her view, a missed opportunity.

“I often say success is not a solo sport,” Minda recently said. “If we saw each other as resources, we could get so much more accomplished.” But to do that, takes the courage to listen to and understand other people’s experiences—to pay more attention to the intersection of race and gender, among other things, that fall under the commitment to gender equality. Only then, she suggests, can women succeed in doing what is required for true gender equality: namely, turn allyship into action. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Financial Fitness Tagged , |

4 Money Tips to Help You Have More Time to Do What You Love

Tonya Rapley

Tonya Rapley, who Black Enterprise Magazine called the “New Face of Wealth Building,” is on a mission to help women break the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck and do more of what they love.

Author of The Money Manual and founder of My Fab Finance, Tonya offers these tips for making better decisions about money: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Financial Fitness Tagged , , |

The Q&A—on Career Advancement

With Villanova University’s Rita DiCarlo  

“I wish I would have been told to say ‘yes’ as much as possible and figure out the “how” later.”

Q: You are in the business of helping college students achieve their career goals. What are your top tips that apply at any point in a woman’s professional career?

Two tips that I believe are relevant across a woman’s entire career journey are:

  • You control and manage your professional brand
  • In order to be successful in the job search process, you must put in the work

The ability to develop and manage your professional brand is applicable at every point in a woman’s career. You build your professional brand in obvious ways, from having a comprehensive LinkedIn profile, to developing a tailored resume. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Job Advancement Tagged , |

To Be a Great Boss, Focus on These Three Qualities

Fran Hauser

If you’ve ever been told you won’t be able to get ahead if you’re too nice, Fran Hauser, author of The Myth of the Nice Girl, has news for you.

You don’t have to choose between kindness and strength. You only have to focus on how you communicate—which is more important today than ever. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Communication Skills, Success & Leadership Tagged , , , , , |