Finding Resilience at MITX’s InfluenceHer Conference

I find that it is so hard to get away from my desk, and if I do, I’m usually working on the go, checking emails and making phone calls no matter where I am (I’m sitting in the Subaru dealership getting my car fixed as I write this blog). But, I made a commitment to myself to do more networking and attend more events this summer and that paid off in a big way when I stepped away from my phone and email to attend the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) InfluenceHer conference.

The MITX InfluenceHer program brings women together to network and learn from one another. While they have been doing small events and panels for three years, this was the first time they were gathering the community for a more formal conference. After hosting a morning mentor session on how and when to ask for help, I attended several other workshops and talks.

I met a lot of really smart and inspiring women and received a lot of helpful advice from the panelists and workshop leaders throughout the day, but I especially enjoyed the “7 Habits of Highly Resilient People” session lead by meQuilibrium’s director of content, Alanna Fincke. My key takeaways from the session were applicable to many different parts of my life, including my career, marriage and my journey as a parent.

Resilience is simply the ability to bounce back from a tough or stressful situation. And there is good news — anyone can be resilient! It’s not a quality that you are born with. You can teach yourself to be resilient, which I found completely empowering. The first step to resilience is understanding how you react to a tough situation. The workshop started with a word jumble exercise. It turned out all the jumbles were impossible. In sharing observations about how we reacted to this little problem, we learned a lot about how we react to bigger and more frustrating problems.

The workshop was also interesting from a parental perspective. Alanna referenced an interesting study about school-aged children in two groups. One group were praised and told how “smart” they were when they did well on a test. The other group was praised and told that “their hard work” paid off when they did well on a test. Over time, the group that was told their hard work was the impetus for success did much better. Those who believed the knowledge and the capacity to succeed was innate were more apt to give up after a failure.

From a more personal perspective, I often get down on myself for having a pessimistic outlook on things. While this is a natural persuasion based on evolution, we can train ourselves to be more positive. Alanna offer a simple exercise that can help us look for the positive and celebrate small wins called “three great things.” Whether on your train ride home, at the dinner table with your family, or over a glass of wine with your spouse, thinking of three great things that occurred each day can help brighten your outlook and help you in becoming a more positive person.

For other MITX InfluenceHer event highlights see this Boston Globe piece.

Jen Toole
Vice President, Healthcare Practice


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