As I mingled in the depths of the Hilton Atlanta basement, amidst beige walls and a chilly air conditioning, a fellow WiBE member’s declaration caught me off guard: “You must be an extrovert!”


But as I glanced around the crowded room, a part of me suffocating in the monotony, I realized the truth was far from that.


Am I truly an extrovert?


I cherish the moments spent connecting and having fun with our WiBE members and allies, whether it’s exploring the depths of an aquarium or soaring high on a Ferris wheel together.


But the truth is, I don’t believe in rigid labels. We are not confined to being either introverts or extroverts; we are a blend of both. I am a blend of both.


For me, happiness isn’t found solely in the midst of bustling large events; it’s also discovered in the tranquility of nature, snuggled up in my hammock with my dogs barking for another ball toss. Blissfully alone.


After the networking break, I headed upstairs for the closing keynote on positivity, which I marked on my agenda as a “must-attend.” But after enduring three long days of networking and sessions, I stood at the threshold of the door, looking at another hour stuffed into a windowless room surrounded by beige, and my own self-preservation crept in.


Could I bear another hour in this uninspiring space, bundled up in my jacket, listening to a lecture on positivity?!


If Covid taught me anything, extroverts also treasure our alone time.


So I made a U turn and retreated to my room.


After the conference ended, I would find myself in a place where happiness wasn’t a topic to be discussed but a reality to be lived.


Among my WiBE companions, as we explored the lush botanical gardens of Atlanta, discussions went beyond mere business education. We delved into the disparity of access, pondering over students just miles away from campus who lacked the opportunities we took for granted.


I heard later that I missed out on a great keynote. I’ll read the book and watch the TED Talk. Inspiring speakers are an important part of conferences.


But as I plan our next in-person conference in June 2025, I grapple with the balance between speeches and experiences. Because the power of bringing individuals together is not in what is said but in what is felt.


Life may sometimes present us with a palette of blah blah beige, but I will never settle for anything less than a vibrant, splashy, and colorful life.


And that’s why at our 2025 in-person conference our theme will be around being Boldly You.


How can we live our professional lives vibrantly with joy and wonder?


And most importantly, I am securing a location that will have big ‘ol windows.


—Lisa Leander, Founder & CEO


Read the full bulletin here.