On March 24, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette held the 15th annual Women’s Leadership Conference in honor of Women’s History Month.

    The conference took place on the second floor of the Student Union. Multiple stands were set up on the second floor of the Student Union representing women-led organizations or businesses that were owned or run by women.

    Attendees were provided with a 14-page pamphlet that described each session and what they were about. In total, four breakout sessions focused on three main components, mind, body, and soul. 

    This event has given women the chance to speak about how they feel without any judgment. In one of the sessions, four professionals were talking about imposter syndrome. In another session, a man held a conference based on the three main components. 

    The four women who discussed imposter syndrome were Dominique Haughton, Rose Honegger, Sarah Young and Tonya Bolden-Ball. 

According to an article by the American Psychological Association, “Impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.”

Each woman on the panel explained imposter syndrome from their perspective. 

    “We deal with minimization. You can not cry, you have to be strong all the time. I’m sharing this with you because I thought about our upcoming conversion about imposter syndrome. How we oftentimes have to sit there and take it and you better not cry. You have to suck it up, and how many times we’ve been told just to take it and we wonder why, as our keynote mentioned, end up in the ER,” Haughton said.

    “Because I grew up in a religious home, I didn’t have an identity. I couldn’t invoice my opinions. I couldn’t say much because I was a child. I was wrong. I was not right. So that email triggered that little child because throughout childhood, throughout adolescence, throughout adulthood, and especially in 2016, so many people will call on me to do so much public speaking. I will tell them no because I just didn’t feel like I was qualified to be able to do those types of things. So as I received that email, I had to nurture my inner child for the rest of the week,”  Bolden-Ball said.

The discussion prompted one woman to speak out about her feelings surrounding imposter syndrome.

The other breakout session was hosted by a man, Donta Mills, who talked about multiple breathing techniques to help others destress. 

He chose four breathing techniques to demonstrate and for everyone to try. The techniques helped calm the room down along with silencing the room for a short moment.

Mills understood throughout the whole session that he was not a woman and has not experienced the same events that women go through, but he has explained that he goes to the annual conference to help women through times of trouble.

“I honor the female. I put her at the top because we know that life is given by women. A lot of things are given by them so I applaud them,” Mills said.