Career
Jul 8, 2022

Highlights from the Femme Palette 2022 conference

On October 8th 2022, our Prague community gathered for the second annual Femme Palette conference. 250+ attendees enjoyed a full day of panel talks, presentations and workshops in the beautiful space of WPP Campus. Building and expanding on last year’s first Femme Palette conference, the 2022 program included a range of topics encountered by women in their careers. Let’s take a look back on the big day and its highlights!

A morning full of inspiration

After an introduction from Femme Palette founders Lucie Neumanova and Klara Holikova, we kicked the program off with the first panel talk titled Leading with authenticity and inclusivity. The guests on the panel were Veronika Buresova (CEO at H1.cz), Katerina Douskova (Head of Product at STRV), and Lenka Helena Koenigsmark (Marketing Manager CZ, SK, HU, TESCO at Mattel). The speakers shared with moderator Lucie Neumanova how to remain authentic as a leader, how to honor your feminine energy, and how to apply all of this in practice. 

“It took me years to realize who I am. In the men’s world, you try to be tough, but in the end, it does not really work.” - Lenka Helena Koenigsmark

The morning programming continued with a talk by Cristina Muntean (Founder & CEO at Vornica, Mentor, Trainer & Coach) on the topic of How your personal brand can grow your career. Cristina broke down this topic into 10 steps for growing and leveraging your personal brand where she highlighted points such as knowing your value and talking about it loudly, because nobody else is going to do that for you - you have to ask for it yourself: “I’m afraid it’s not gonna happen [that your organization is going to say], “You’ve been doing so great, and inflation was 20%, but we’re going to give you [a raise of] 30% because we love you so much”.  The final message shared was to also use your personal brand to open doors for others.

Next up was the topic of Balancing motherhood and career. The panel moderated by Ursa Pejovnik (CERTA Public Sector Sales Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise) welcomed guests Petra Ondrusova (Chief Diversity Officer at Ceska sporitelna), Jana Sedlakova (CEO at Sedlakova Legal), and Iva Welker (Managing Director at VMLY&R) to reflect on their own experiences as working mothers, what this experience has taught them, and also on the important topic of mom guilt.

“I think that not a single mother has time for herself when her kids are small. If you go to work or not,  it’s a 24/7 job which spreads throughout the day, so I wouldn't be so tough on myself.” - Jana Sedlakova

“You have your own biases just as your employer does - are you gonna be as productive, as effective, as great? But if you open the topic with them, it’s really easy for both sides to talk about it.” - Petra Ondrusova

After a few hours of sitting, it was a welcome moment when Nela Dopanova (Founder of Fpohybu) arrived on stage for a quick movement break during which attendees not only had a chance to stretch themselves, but also received some great tips for taking care of their bodies during a day of sitting in an office chair. Nela inspired everyone with her mission to change company movement culture and conquering her own challenges as someone born with a cleft spine.

Moderator Klara Holikova then opened the topic of Growing your influence in the next panel with speakers Ekaterina Syromyatnikova (Associate VP, Global Customer Support & Engagement at Wrike), Milos Broulik (Director at Barclays), and Eva Proksova (Group ESG HR Specialist at Fortuna Entertainment Group). The speakers discussed how one can grow and use their influence even if they don’t have the official capacity of a management role. They touched on building trust, how to be perceived as an expert, and much more.

“It really comes handy when you come into some new situation, like when you don’t know the team, to take on a task that no one else wants to do.” - Milos Broulik

Lunch, as well as the rest of the catering for the day, was provided by Narodni 38. After the Growing your influence panel, attendees got to take a break to enjoy poke bowls, coffee, and networking.

The last panel talk of the day was titled Lift as you climb: Championing women in the workplace. Moderator Klara Losert (CEO & Co-founder at Talkbase) talked to speakers Kristyna Simonova (COO at Wunderman Thompson), Pavla Grigarova (CEE YouTube Marketing Lead at Google), and Ondrej Cejka (Director at Czechitas) about how not only women, but also men can support women colleagues and challenge biases. 

“Give trust. I was pretty young when I got into senior positions, I was not that experienced, but there was always someone who gave me trust and the feeling that they’ve got my back, and that’s the most important part of it for me.” - Kristyna Simonova

An afternoon of interactive programming

After a morning of inspiring talks, the afternoon programming was designed to be more interactive and personalized. Attendees split into four workshop tracks focused of different topics: Leadership, Career growth, Career pivoting, and Mentoring (here the participants could choose to focus either on Leadership or General Career Guidance). Workshop facilitators Simon Steffal, Daniela Sedlonova, Cristina Muntean, and Simona Saskova got participants to engage and discuss topics such as Creating a feedback culture, Solution-focused leadership, Building confidence, (Leading) difficult conversations, How to shift gears in your career, or Talk with your future self, while Femme Palette mentors provided guidance in small groups to participants of the Mentoring track.

Throughout the day, attendees could also visit the stands of two non-profit organizations, Loono and 42 Prague. The former consists of a team of medical professionals who teach people how to take care of their bodies, and show them that prevention matters. Their stand offered the opportunity to learn more about cancer and cardiovascular diseases prevention or sexual health.

42 Prague is a tuition-free coding school with the aim to challenge the traditional learning model and provide an industry-leading education for free with no teachers, classes, or books. Through engaging logic games, attendees at their stand got a taste of the activities which 42 Prague’s students partake in, as well as have some fun. 

The 2022 Femme Palette conference was an eventful and busy day full of inspiration, learning, networking, and mutual support. If you’d like to experience more events like this, make sure to join our community so you never miss an invite! We’d also like to point out that none of this would have been possible without our partners - therefore a big thanks goes out to Barclays, Wrike, VMLY&R, Ceska sporitelna, Wunderman Thompson, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, H1.cz, Fortuna Entertainment Group, Sedlakova Legal, and Livesport!

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