The Accelerate Conference was held in Frisco, Texas at the Embassy Suites hotel and convention center and this was the second year for the conference. In 2015 I did not attend, as I did not see how attending the conference would benefit me. This year though after looking at the schedule I made the fateful decision to attend, pay the registration fee, and was I glad I made this decision. Over the years I have been to many conferences and I believe this conference would place number one for learning and networking.
Once registered I was asked to be on a panel "Driver Perspectives: Making Life on the road Easier for Women" with three other lady drivers. I was asking to talk for five minutes about "Why be a Driver" and that was a tough one for me. There are so many reasons why I think being a driver is awesome I could not keep my thoughts coherent. Finally I limited myself to less then 700 words and wrote out many many times what I thought the key elements were. What I wanted to convey overall was that there is a trucking job for everyone and it is great to own our own business where race, gender, and age is not a factor. Getting the job done is a professional and safe manner is the bottom line.
Anne Miner of the Dunvegan group moderated our panel and kept us all on track. Anyone that works with drivers knows that this can be as difficult as herding cats. We all enjoyed talking with each other and sharing stories. In the end though she had all of us talking on a subject, Allyson Hay of Walmart spoke about "What women drivers would like to know about/from other women drivers". Felicia Berggren, Werner talked about "What women would like to see changed". Jodi Edwards, JB Hunt talked about "What I like about being a driver". After our talk there were many questions from the audience. From the responses I heard I believe our panel was one of the favorites.
Some of the highlights for me was attending on the first day a workshop put on by Debbie Garner, Survival Institute. Her workshop "Because Worry is not a Self-Defense Plan!" was really good and made all of us look inside us to see what our response would be if threatened. She showed us what to do if threatened and how to survive. If you are ever able to attend one of her workshops I believe it might save your life if ever threatened. She is high energy so hold on to your seats.
Another talk that was fantastic was on the first day by Valerie Young and I plan on buying her book "The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women" and her talk was on the Imposter Syndrome and her talk was almost as if it was directed to each person. Another workshop that I really enjoyed was "Secrets to Successful Mentoring". The women on this panel discussed mentors they have had and then also how to mentor others. Anne Miner was on the panel and I really appreciated her explanation of the difference between a mentor, a sponsor, and a coach. A mentor is someone that is a trusted advisor, a sponsor is someone that believes in you and what you are trying accomplish, and a coach is someone who guides you to become a better you. We have all three in our lives and we often have many mentors depending on the situation.
We had a working lunch each day of the conference. The working lunch was interactive roundtable discussions and we had twenty different topics to choose from. There was room for about twelve people at each table and while a moderator started the conversation about the topic it was up to each attendee to share their experiences or thoughts. The experiences of the others at the table let each of us know we are not alone in our thoughts and struggles as we each shared ideas on how we have accomplished something or solved a problem.
The Women in Trucking Accelerate Conference is an uplifting, networking, and education experience that can benefit anyone in the trucking industry. Attendees included women that own trucking companies, women that own truck dealerships, women who are in truck marketing, women that design truck cabs, truck drivers, and anyone that works within the industry. Next year in 2017 the conference will be in Kansas City in November and there will be truck parking. I know that I plan to be there as I left this conference feeling as if I was on top of the world in an industry that means a lot to me. Great Job Women in Trucking at putting this event together.
To join Women in Trucking or learn more about the Accelerate! conference click here