Highlights from the 2011 Women’s Power Summit: Day 2

Day 2 was a Big Day. Stanford Business School Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer kicked things off with his tutorial on how to achieve greater individual power. You can download his full course outline here, but my favorite tips were:

  • What we do for women, we do for all human beings. This is not only true, it's a lesson in branding. Pfeffer shared this quip from a friend who works on family-leave policy in Spain. He emphasized how she defined her issue as one of economic imperative so that it would appeal to those whose power she needed to leverage to accomplish her goals.  Put another way: she reduced the friction. 
  • Pfeffer heavily plugged executive coaching for those seeking positions of greater power, whether they were mid-level associates in the race for partnership or general counsels aspiring to the C-suite or a corporate board.
  • Some of my favorite advice came in Pfeffer's  remarks on relationship building. His advice included: visibly silence your phone at the beginning of a conversation with someone you want to make feel important and find a similarity and point it out, no matter how trivial (we have the same birthday or we have the same initials) to make yourself an "us" not a "them." 
  • Create resources you control (a list, a publication, a network, a brand)
  • Ask yourself, "Do you know what victory looks like?" Picture it and do not allow distractions to derail you.

This program was followed by two discussions. First Stephanie Scharf, Ida Abbott, Paula Monopoli and I talked to Pfeffer about the implications of his work for women in the legal profession. Next, Catalyst's Ilene Lang talked with Mary Cranston and Stephanie Streeter about their ascent into the business world and the implications of gender bias for women on corporate ladders.

Over lunch Fulbright's Linda Addison chatted with Fortune's Patricia Sellers who has also been blogging about the programs and who created Fortune's Most Powerful Women list. She shared Oprah's definition of power, which has now officially become my own: power is impact with purpose. I know, I kind of hate it, but Oprah is basically the greatest.

The day concluded with an update to the Austin Manifesto.  All in all a great day. 

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