More than 250 women gathered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on March 4 for the inaugural Lean On: Alabama Lifestyle & Leadership Conference. With close to two dozen speakers on the agenda, the day was packed from the morning’s opening session all the way through the closing reception that evening.
Lean On: Alabama is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that brings women together to form inter-generational partnerships by building an innovative statewide platform which promotes
collaboration, development, and investment in each other and the community.
The conference aimed to provide opportunities for the women of Alabama to build relationships while sharing knowledge and experiences, along with learning from others who have forged a path as
leaders in their families, communities, churches, government, and businesses.
“The inaugural Lifestyle and Leadership Conference marked the beginning of what Lean On: Alabama hopes to do in our state,” said Mary Lee Caldwell, president and co-founder of the organization.
“We are already seeing relationships that were formed at the conference take shape and help people grow personally and professionally. This is only the beginning, and I cannot wait to see where this road takes us.”
Keynote speakers for the event included Amber Aziza, Liz Huntley, Peggy Orenstein, Sarah Patterson and Carolyn Rush. Thirty-six additional speakers also conducted breakout sessions on a variety of topics.
Each speaker throughout the day aimed to impart their wisdom in some way – from strategy and tactics to inspiration and goal-setting.
“Be strict about your goals. Be flexible about how you get there,” said Carolyn Rush, director of brand strategy for Worn Creative. “If you see another women up for a promotion, offer her a recommendation. Encourage her. Do whatever you can to stand together.”
Following the conference, Lean On: Alabama will continue working around the state, including launching
Iris Circles, which will be small inter-generational groups of women offering opportunities for
fellowship, collaboration, and support.
“After our inaugural conference, I am more excited than ever about fostering inter-generational networks of women supporting each other,” said Marsha Grady, vice president and co-founder. “Our conference attendees included women of all ages, colors, faiths, cultures, and walks of life. We learned together and from each other – and left inspired to inspire and empower each other in all areas of our lives.”
To learn more about Lean On: Alabama,