Everyone's leadership journey starts from a different place, and every leader faces different challenges along the path. The one thing all leaders share is the need for guidance from mentors and peers. Wisconsin's banking leaders, both current and up-and-coming, have a brand-new opportunity to access that guidance: the upcoming WBA Diversity in Banking Conference on Oct. 10 in Madison. 

Designed for WBA member bankers with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and roles, the event features a full day of keynotes, workshops, and networking opportunities to empower attendees to take charge of their career growth. 

Marci Malzahn profileThe first announced speaker is morning keynote presenter Marci Malzahn, president & founder of Malzahn Strategic. Her session, Bring Your Shoes, will encourage first-time leaders and veteran managers alike to stay true to themselves while stepping into bigger and bigger roles. "When you get a promotion, you always hear people say 'you have big shoes to fill,'" Malzahn said. "We need to stop telling people that." Her session will equip attendees with tools to help them accomplish the three keys of leadership: discover and maximize your talents; discover and maximize the talents of those you lead; and maximize the team's talents.

"The main point is to remember that you are in charge of your own career," Malzahn said. "You have to bring your whole self to the job. Bring your shoes—your unique abilities and talents and personality." At the same time, she pointed out, no one can do it alone. Surrounding yourself with the right people and forming the right team is essential to success. That's why the session will explore practical tips and tools for managing your team, from developing their talents to creating trust. "Get to know your employees beyond what they produce," Malzahn advised. "Get to know them as people. This creates trust and loyalty." 

Jim Gray profileIn the afternoon, attendees will learn why it's important to own and manage their career—and walk away with tactics and tools to do so—in a workshop led by diversity and inclusion consultant James Gray. "While there is a role for one's manager and the organization, each of us has the responsibility to manage our own career," he said. The first step in doing so is to clarify your career vision and align it with your career-related values. Gray will lead an exercise during the workshop to help attendees identify these key pieces of the puzzle. The second step in managing one's career is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. "We tend to focus more on our weaknesses than the things we're good at," said Gray. "During this session, I'll help people to understand where their talents are and how those translate into strengths." He'll also explore the differences between a talent and a strength. 

The final workshop exercise will guide attendees through building a preliminary plan for leveraging their strengths to achieve their vision and goals (preliminary because attendees will need to gather feedback from individuals who are not present), including identifying key "career anchors," which Gray explains are positions or experiences that are essential for an individual to advance to a certain role. Finally, Gray's workshop will address common barriers to advancement, particularly as they relate to underrepresented groups, and the importance of networking as a strategy for managing one's career. 

Interested in attending? Visit www.wisbank.com/empower to learn more and register online today! Watch for more information, including additional session details and speaker announcements, coming soon.