Mar 042003
Authors: Melissa Pester

Politics, leadership and Colorado’s women. All three seem like an interesting, conversation-starting combination and all three came together at Congressman Scott McInnis’s Colorado’s Women Conference in February.

McInnis, the representative of what he called the largest chunk of land in Colorado, brought all sorts of diversity to the conference. He sponsored the Colorado Women’s Conference, which provided a ceremony of recognition for women in the state who have made a huge difference in the lives of many.

The ceremony honored such programs as the Yellow Ribbon Campaign and a program that provided cancer patients with the opportunity to take a day to be pampered with beauty products and wig styling-stating, “If you look good, you’ll feel better.”

There need to be more opportunities for the public to honor the things people do to help other people-and more of a chance for the media to get their stories printed and seen.

But, as a participant, I was not amused when McInnis took the opportunity in his welcoming speech to bring up issues such as Iraq. His remarks upstaged the women who were about to be honored for their amazing efforts.

True, America is in an “uncertain time,” and I agree that we need to “stand behind (whomever) is in charge;” but, I do not agree with using something like a conference to get a political idea to constituents (or potential ones). There is always a time and a place for such issues-the conference was neither the time nor the place.

It seems as if some people are turned off by the idea of going to war, about fighting in Iraq and further, about fighting with each other about either standing behind the president or standing against the war. No one seems to be set on the correct way to feel about the issues at hand, and it seems like we as a nation can no longer see eye-to-eye-especially at events fostered to develop leadership skills, like the conference I attended.

This one-day conference was something of a different experience for this participant, as I have never attended something geared strictly towards women-nor have I ever thought about focusing on the leadership development of women. I didn’t see it as a pressing gender issue until I attended this conference.

Through workshops and guest speakers, one of the greatest lessons I learned was it is never too late to develop skills in leadership. And never too late to do so without the influence that politics has in manufacturing a false idea that leaders have to run countries. Surrounded by women, most of who have raised their children and are watching their grandchildren struggle to get by in the world-all of who left talking to me about what they are going to do in their lives with the things they learned. All of whom, I would consider a leader in their own private world.

It was one of the final workshops where the speaker firmly stated everyone is a hero in someone else’s eyes. Everything we do is seen; and we should never forget the effect our actions have over the perceptions others have of us.

It was once I got past the political platform of Scott McInnis that this conference became something of a “whoa” moment for me. And, like honoring the good things that people do, I feel that everyone needs to have more opportunities to obtain “whoa” moments on a daily basis.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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