MSJDN hosted its 10th annual Making the Right Moves (MRM) conference October 10-14. The conference this year focused on the theme “Adapt” and provided tangible take-aways for attendees to utilize to adapt their own careers. MSJDN President, Lyndsay Lujan, kicked off the event with an opening speech that set the stage for an exciting and engaging week.

The conference spanned five days with four days of virtual sessions culminating in a final day punctuated by an in-person networking event sponsored by Amazon. The sessions included webinars, which gave attendees an opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, and workshops, which allowed attendees to work on adapting in their own careers. MSJDN utilized a new platform, Whova, this year, which was a big hit among attendees. Whova allowed everyone to communicate easily, network, plan in-person events throughout the conference, create their own personal agendas, and housed all the session links. 

MSJND’s sponsors went above and beyond for this year’s conference, and thanks to their generous sponsorship, MSJDN was able to offer free attendance to its members. This conference would not have been possible without their incredible sponsorship and continuing support!

The conference kicked off on October 10th with a session led by Emilie Aries, author, speaker, podcaster, and Founder and CEO of Bossed Up. Emilie discussed an issue central to many attendees: Imposter Syndrome. She explained how Imposter Syndrome affects our careers, what triggers it, and (most importantly) how to combat it. During the session, Emilie shared how her experiences led to feeling like an imposter, and eventually burning out as a grassroots organizer and political advocate. This session was interactive with a breakout session and Emilie answering live questions from attendees. It gave us all key tips to apply to our own situation and help combat Imposter Syndrome.

The sessions on October 11th featured a webinar on setting goals and a workshop on federal resumes. Jonathan LaCour, President and Managing Attorney for Employees First Labor Law and WIN Injury and Accident Trial Lawyers, shared his own experiences with failed businesses and detailed how he used goal setting to build his extremely successful firm, all while reminding attendees of the importance of paying it forward and remembering where we started. The next session featured two of MSJDN’s own leaders – Mary Reding Smith, founding President of MSJDN, and Kate Hudson, Director of MSJDN’s Federal Employment Committee. Mary and Kate tackled a huge issue that plagues many of us – how to write an effective federal resume. They discussed the many myths surrounding the federal hiring process and offered their personal experiences in federal hiring to help attendees tailor their resumes for the best chances of landing a job in the federal government.

The focus of October 12 was LinkedIn. We were joined by Jennifer Belmont Jennings, wealth advisor at Hightower Wealth Advisors in St. Louis. Jennifer shared her experience with LinkedIn and gave valuable tips to leveraging the platform. Jennifer herself began leveraging LinkedIn during the pandemic and used the platform to develop many connections that led to co-authoring a book, several podcast appearances and speaking engagements, legal network building, new clients, and friendships. Jennifer was followed by Carla Miller, Deputy Director for Career Connector Programs at Hiring our Heroes. Carla is also a military spouse, so she understands the challenges MSJDN’s members face in building and maintaining a career. Carla’s team assesses and manages support of active duty service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers and provides these groups with skills needed to succeed in the civilian workforce. Her diverse background, including experience in human resources management, has given her insight into what is important in a LinkedIn profile.

The virtual sessions of the conference wrapped up on October 13. Simon Lucas, CEO and President of the Multicultural Marketer, led a workshop on writing elevator speeches and bios. He gave specific steps to follow to create an effective and short introduction. Cassie Gabelt Byard, MSJDN’s Executive Director, followed up with a session to continue working on elevator speeches and practicing them in a small group. The final virtual session was a keynote roundtable, led by MSJDN’s Past President, Kristen Jones. Kristen moderated a dynamic roundtable featuring four of the authors of Women in Law: Discovering the True Meaning of Success: Jennifer Belmont Jennings, Tatia Gordon-Troy, Talar Herculian, and Zeynep Goral. The four co-authors discussed their contributions to the book and how they found success in their own lives. The first 100 registrants will be receiving a swag box from the conference with a copy of the book inside.

The conference officially wrapped on Friday, October 14 at an in-person networking event in Arlington, Virginia. The event was hosted by Amazon and featured Jennifer Esparza, Office of the Secretary, White House Liaison, US Department of Veterans Affairs. Attendees enjoyed in-person networking, community, cocktails, and general merriment as they celebrated a successful conference.

Registrants can continue to access all content through Whova until the end of December. A special thank you to the Events Committee, Linda Moua, Michelle Suwandhaputra, Nicole Bastos, and Cassie Gabelt Byard for their hard work making this conference possible!

We would love to hear your thoughts on the conference and welcome your feedback and suggestions on how to make next year’s conference even more impactful, please email us at events@msjdn.org.

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