Over two days in Washington, the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) set the tone for preparing women to lead in nonprofit and business roles across the country. Led by a good friend of Aulenor (the talented Sarah Bruno), PLEN’s seminars offer intensive skill development, networking, and policy discovery opportunities to college-age women — and surprisingly, it’s the only organization whose mission is 100% dedicated to preparing these women to lead in public policy.
PLEN focuses on leadership across sectors because that’s where women will shape policy in ways large and small over the years ahead. Just like our male counterparts, running a successful organization is more than a path to financial growth: it’s a path to different sources of power and a platform to influence our communities. That’s why Aulenor moderated a panel with local business leaders Dionna Dorsey (District of Clothing), Leniqua’dominique Jenkins (Capitol Living and District ANC Member), and Kat Atwater (BlueLabs).
In a discussion ranging from building from idea to reality to morning routines, these talented women shared great insights into what it takes to refresh and reinforce your vision through company design, networking choices, mentorship and self-care. Here are a few of our top recommendations to the PLEN class based on those guidelines:
- Pick your networks wisely. Serial joining is an easy habit to fall into, but good networking requires commitment to specific people and relationships. But there’s good news: PLEN participants are already off to a great start! Pro tip: Reinforce that network with consistent online and offline communications, setting a standing monthly time for cross-country Google Hangouts to catch up on action plans and checking in via a communal platform like Slack to share resources, inspiration and mutual support. We’re fans of Ladies Get Paid and Lesbians Who Tech as two communities with great online and offline entrepreneur resources and feminists in business reinforcement.
- Win your mornings, win your days. If you haven’t heard it already, the mantra taking over productivity blogs has a lot to offer — and the science is solid. From winding down the night before with a pre-sleep planning session to kicking off with water and a stretch, setting yourself up for success begins with your brain and body. Those who struggle with anxiety (we do!) and in need of structured self-care will especially benefit from creating a solid morning routine and sticking to it. Pro tip: reward yourself when you’ve set a 28 day morning routine streak! You’ve earned it.
- Organize your priorities. We each have unique needs to translate our dreams into doing, to quote Dionna Dorsey. Some need to routinely refresh their creative well; others should set aside time for learning new skills, especially when starting a business for the first time. Whatever your priorities are, make sure they’re reflected in the time you set aside each week. (And limit that email window from ‘whenever I don’t know what to do’ to 2–3 sessions per day of focused communication.) At Aulenor, we use a mix of weekly and daily planning tools to help us stay on-task: Ngiste’s bullet journal method, Caitlin’s Ink+Volt planner, and the goal-setting guide by BestSelfCo. Test a couple to figure out what works for you — then stick to it!
Want more tips for building your next organization? Subscribe to Aulenor’s weekly update for a quick-hit of entrepreneur inspiration, tools, and how-to’s.
This post also appears on our @aulenor Medium blog.