Women's Leadership Conference
February 19-21, 2010
Old Town Alexandria, VA
With the common goal of becoming stronger advocates and spokespeople for bleeding disorders within their communities, 16 women from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, converged in Old Town Alexandria, VA for a Women's Leadership Conference. The three-day event, hosted by the Hemophilia Association of the Capital Area, took place the weekend of February 19th at the relaxing and intimate Lorien Hotel. What started out as an educational session to learn about bleeding disorders and useful tools to share our stories, quickly turned into a bonding experience of open sharing and mutual support.
I was honored to be among the four women from North Carolina chosen to participate in this gathering. I went into the event somewhat unsure of the expectations set before me and uncertain about my ability to effectively share my story with others in a way that would make a difference in my community. I wasn't sure what qualified me as a good candidate to head out into the Piedmont area to speak and educate groups about bleeding disorders. Any reservations I had melted away within seconds of arriving at the hotel, where I was greeted by a wonderful group of women with whom I immediately felt at ease.
The weekend was filled with educational sessions covering a range of topics, from bleeding disorders 101 to presentation and communication skills. Admittedly, some of us had the opportunity for some role-playing in order to better explain the inheritance pattern portion of the agenda. We were also provided with a display board (think science fair) to assemble with bleeding disorder facts and information and personal pictures that should help all of us when giving our presentations. Despite the very full schedule, we had the opportunity to relax and get to know each other, whether during the cookie decorating class or over a glass of wine in the evening.
Our stories and experiences are unique and have helped shape who we are and it is my hope that these stories, coupled with the knowledge we have been armed with, will help someone else. By the end of the conference, if a stranger had walked into the room, they would've probably guessed that this group had known each other for quite some time – never to realize that our common passions, goals and hopes had brought us together and created such a tight bond and lasting experience.
Note from HNC: Other members who attended included Sue Fletcher, Jeannie Adair and Sharon Ingram. The women are located in all four corners of NC and happy to share their stories wherever opportunities present themselves. If you have an event/program in your area at which they can present or would like to contact this group for more information on getting involved, please call HNC at (800)990-5557 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our many thanks to this fantastic group of women who returned energized and enthusiastic about helping raise awareness of women and bleeding disorders!
Written by: Maria Schnaith-Ivan,