HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) recent Women’s Leadership Conference led by business coach, facilitator, and strategist Lynn Turner gave women participants techniques to utilize in order to reach their highest potential to promote themselves in their work or different areas of life.

This conference held on May 25, was the last one to take place for the year, for women to engage and gain a supporting network. Beginning in January, different women leaders speak at each conference. On January 26, the president and CEO of Square One in Springfield explain her presentation called, “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?” Other conferences have included presentations on growth mindset and finding your mentors, to help participants continually grow and push themselves.

Last month, Easthampton Mayor, Nicole LaChapelle had a presentation called, “My Ankles Are Made of Steel.” LaChapelle discussed how to keep the door open for others that may not be as represented as others.

Turner says how she appreciates the candor and authenticity of each woman leader that has presented before her. “It causes me to reflect a lot, especially with the recent work I’ve been involved with emotions, energy, and engagement. The notion of bringing our whole self, our physical intellectual self, spiritual and emotional self to our roles as leaders is key.”

Turner filled in for leadership coach and owner of SBSWF Consulting Shawntsi Baret who was unable to attend. The “Self Love” presentation given by Turner during the last conference helped women take a glance at their own self-understanding.

The presentation began with Turner introducing herself to the group and led women into introducing themselves by listing off how they were feeling in the moment, about life, and work. Turner had addressed these emotions that had been reciprocated and gave information on how to make sense of what they were feeling or unable to detect.

Turner addressed how many women tend to wear many hats, both professionally and personally, and try to balance all those many hats.

Emotional Black Hole

Turner shares how in her own life she felt like a “pressure cooker,” that she was constantly under a lot of steam. Had to multitask between different roles as a divorced mom caring for an aging parent, managing on her own, trying to make ends meet, independent woman. “I’m seeing myself fall over the place.” She started to feel like she had no time to think or feel.” She felt like she had a hard time explaining her feelings and was heading into a deep dark black hole, that just kept getting bigger and bigger. She says when that starts to happen, your mind begins to shrink and become disengaged.

Eventually, she began to realize where she was mentally and how she could recover from it. Her mood was in a depressed state and when she hit that black hole, she collapsed on her kitchen floor in a pile of tears in front of her children. “I was like, woah, they just saw mom crumble.”

A close friend and neighbor of hers became one of her closest supporters and helped her come out of the black hole she was in. She then regained control of her life.

She shared a life wheel with participants that she took into use for the recreational and physical environment, business career, finances, health, family, friends, romance, and personal growth. She indicated her wheel had been dismal but helped her to prioritize what areas she had to work on first. For Turner, it was working on her finances, health, and family.

Turner expressed that the brain is put into two hemispheres, both rational (analytics, facts, figures, data, and language) and the limbic system is created with emotion, and memories, but no language. Turner brought into the discussion whether humans are logical beings with emotions or emotional beings with logic. Most participants had voted for emotional beings with logic. “Sometimes our emotions don’t make sense and as we go through changes in our life it is emotional,” she said. According to Turner, when something changes, it may mean that you’re losing something. At the end of the session, Turner had participants refer to an AgileBrain assessment to measure motivational-emotional meanings.

Women’s Leadership Conference participant, Robin Sheldon explained how taking Turner’s AgileBrain assessment has helped her.” I can’t believe how this test helped me to find the words to describe actually some of the emotions I was having or feeling and couldn’t put words to and how to define them and feel more comfort level in those areas. I felt it was immense use of my time.”

HCC Executive director of Business, Corporate and Professional Development Michelle Cabral added, “for me, it’s the realization that you have to bring your whole self and everybody’s got their stuff going on, some positive, some not and at some point, we all face those cycles. Having a tool that can help us understand where we are at is usually beneficial.”

Set Boundaries

22News spoke with Turner about how when you begin to analyze the emotions in your life, you begin to set boundaries for yourself. Turner explains how to set healthy boundaries with people you’re close to or see on a daily basis.

“Start with trust. Trust is broken down into character incompetence and within the character piece, there is integrity and intent. And sometimes we don’t let people know our intent.”

She recommends telling someone the following: “In order to honor our relationships, I really need to let you know I need you to more of or less of, I don’t operate well with this.”

Cabral added, “also assuming that the person that is asking you to do something to create a boundary is coming from a place of goodness. Start with that positive outlook and it’s ok to say no and doesn’t have to be no forever, it can be “I can’t do that at this moment” or “I can’t do that now”.

“To change a behavior takes consistent effort and it’s hard at first, it’s not easy. Having that support is key too,” said Turner.