There’s something about the Pennsylvania Conference for Women that leaves you energized and ready to tackle every single goal you’ve ever had. With past attendees like Michelle Obama, Dr. Brené Brown, Serena Williams, and human rights attorney, Amal Clooney, the speaker list always consists of noteworthy women in leadership positions. One of my favorite aspects of the conference is getting book recommendations. Hearing someone speak their truth on a panel or address an audience of thousands of women makes me want to learn more about their story and dig deeper on the topic. Read on for 5 books newly added from the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.
Books From the Pennsylvania Conference for Women
Girls Who Code founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani, hosted a discussion on embracing imperfection. She makes some fascinating points about how girls are raised to be perfect and to not challenge the status quo. On the other and, boys are raised to be brave and take risks. As a mom of a little girl and boy, these concepts really hit close to home. Have you ever heard a loved one be more firm in their discipline for a boy because “the boy needs to be tough and less sensitive”? Maybe you’ve seen family members who mean well but encourage the little girls in your family to be quiet, polite and good listeners. Meanwhile, “boys will just be boys” and can be loud and adventurous.
It may seem innocent at the time, but these micro-instructions are detrimental in the long run. In reality, they discourage boys and girls from being their true selves. It turns both genders into shells of the women and men they could one day be. After hearing the author speak, I immediately moved this book to the top five books I need to read next.
When Jesmyn Ward walked onto the stage and started telling her story, a room of 10,000 women fell silent. Everyone in that room was listening carefully. Furthermore, as an avid notetaker, even I had to put down my pen and paper. I didn’t want to miss a single word. The book is a fictional story of a family making their way from a Gulf Coast town to the Mississippi State Penitentiary and delves into the history of poverty and race in Mississippi. I’ll let you read the 800 reviews on Amazon and see for yourself that you can confidently add this book to the top of your reading list.
The author, Maxie McCoy, moderated a panel at the conference called, You’re Not Lost: Create the Career YOU Want, Not What is Being Determined for You. I met her during the book signing and she was just as personable and warm in a one-on-one conversation as she was on stage. That night, I started making my way through the book and love the exercises scattered throughout. For instance, one question she asks is which of your friends do you talk to about ideas, goals and dreams (as opposed to talking about other people). I love a good career book but there are so many options out there. This one drew me in because McCoy was incredible on the conference panel. Additionally, it feels less theoretical and more actionable, with concrete steps you can take to accomplish your goals.
Emilie Aries was one of the expert panelists on the panel with Maxie McCoy. She was real and honest about her own history and how she came to write this book. Most importantly, she backs up her advice with data and cites cognitive research as the basis of her recommendations.
Although the author of Work Party, Jaclyn Johnson, didn’t speak at the conference, I ended up finding the book indirectly. After hearing Maxi McCoy (author of You Are Not Lost) speak on a panel, I obviously immediately googled her and saw that she recently spoke at Create & Cultivate, which was founded by Jaclyn Johnson. I attended Create & Cultivate in New York City this Summer and it was another incredible conference. Johnson has had an amazing journey in her own right and is always lifting other women up. She has built a meaningful community of entrepreneurial women like no other. I can’t wait to read more about her journey.
What books are next on your reading list? Have you read a book recently that you loved and recommend to all your friends? Comment below.