By Erica Faris
This month, several female employees from Vitalyst attended the ever-inspiring 13th annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women with over 7,000 attendees. With this series, we are sharing highlights and perspectives from some of the most powerful sessions.
It may have seemed odd for a man to be among the headline speakers at a women’s conference, but, considering this conference’s mission—to promote workplace inclusiveness and equality for all—it wasn’t so strange after all.
The gathering was the 2016 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, and the speaker was Adam Grant, best-selling author, top-rated Wharton School of Business professor, LeanIn.org board member, father of daughters, and self-professed champion of gender equality.
Grant opened this year’s conference with a speech focused on the benefits of generosity to the enterprise and to employees. His speech was based on his widely praised, bestselling book “Give and Take” (2013).
Grant described three workplace personality traits: Takers, Matchers and Givers. Takers are fixated on getting more than what they give, Matchers believe strongly in quid pro quo, and Givers are concerned mainly with others.
With his quick wit and crowd-inclusive exercises, Grant made a strong case for organizational generosity. Givers, he explained, end up much better off than Takers or Matchers in the long run. He cited a few key reasons:
- Givers have the broadest and most substantial networks
- Givers tend to develop admirable reputations
- Givers walk away from situations with significantly more knowledge and experience
The overarching theme of Grant’s talk was that generosity is the most productive trait to have—professionally and personally. As a Giver, you slowly teach others the same collaborative values which can bring positive results for everyone.
The overarching theme of Grant’s talk was that generosity is the most productive trait to have—professionally and personally
The session also served as a positive way to kick off the conference. Grant inspired me—and I suspect the others in attendance—to take a step back and evaluate what kind of person I am personally and professionally. I also gained a better understanding of how to work more effectively together, rather than apart and only catering to self-interests.
For more on how Adam Grant lost his gender bias blindness and became a gender equality champion, read his first-person account—“Why I Failed to Advocate for Women”—which ran in Inc. magazine.