Once again the day began with a wonderful continental breakfast. Attendees gathered in the Grand Ballroom for what would be the two keynote addresses of the summit. The first was given by Don Thompson the former CEO of McDonald's (now serving as a consultant, post retirement) and the second given by Judy Smith, Founder and CEO of Smith & Company also known as the real-life inspiration behind Scandal’s, Olivia Pope character. Unfortunately, press coverage was not allowed for these two sessions so I can't relay any exhilarating nuggets of information but you can probably just use the summits previous speakers as indication of how inspiring these two sessions were.
After the morning sessions I did some mingling and met some interesting new people. I also ran into Susan Taylor. She spoke about her organization and how she was looking for help via donations and volunteering to keep the movement going and growing. For our photo op she was partial to selfies "We're not going to take a selfie?" she asked which I found totally endearing. Here's our selfie:
Because of my mingling, I missed out on the majority of the Corporate Board Boot Camp session making it only to the final few moments but I managed to meet some more interesting people both on my way to the session and leaving it. Yup, I'll still count that as a win/win.
Panelists gathered to discuss the things that we allow to limit the forward movement of our careers and the adverse effects of those limitations whether they are the inability to get promoted or the inability to find satisfaction in the work we do.
Trudy Bourgeois, Founder, Center for Workplace Excellence
- Dawn Davis, VP & Publisher, Simon & Schuster
- Marlene Gordon, VP and General Counsel, North America, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc
- Barbara Carr, VP, Agency/Sales – Southern Florida Market Area, State Farm
Some standout quotes from this session:
“Evaluate gaps and opportunities. How are you doing?”
“Currency is relationship.”
“Be crystal clear on what you want. Build a strategy."
"After entry-level people recommend people for jobs"
"Promote what you do. Listen to people. Build relationships."
"What do you want? Go out and find it and wrestle it down."
"Reverse mentoring. I can learn something from someone working for me."
"No, but I can learn it.” (in response to “questions on having experience with something she didn’t know )
"You don’t define me or what I’m capable of."
"A lot of what happens in that room is based on perception.”
Outdoor Garden Luncheon
Next up was the out door garden luncheon. The luncheon hosted by Carnival, was held on the Ocean Patio and featured The Execu Diva Fashion show by Macy's. The host of the show was the fabulous Audrey Smaltz, CEO of The Ground Crew, a backstage management company for the fashion industry. Models walked the red carpet runway with confidence in their struts as Audrey provided Pixar-caliber animated commentary. The doors opened to the Macy's beauty pavilion immediately following the garden lunch so that attendees could shop the looks they had just seen.
Real Talk! The Trick, Traps & Truths About Success
After lunch it was time to get real and that’s exactly what we did. Caroline Clarke moderated a discussion with Susan L. Taylor and Pam Grier. In this powerful session the women discussed everything from the road to their professional success to surviving personal hardships. Susan discussed her humble beginnings at Essence as a beauty contributor and struggling with feelings of inadequacy because she didn’t possess a college education. Pam spoke about her incredible punctuality (she is always on set an hour early) and her constant desire to learn and know all aspects of the business. She’s enthusiastically taken acting classes, screen play writing classes, and even legal classes to ensure that she could comprehend her contracts.
Some standout quotes from this session:
“Anything that is known is knowable.” (Coretta Scott King told her about Dr. King.)
“You can’t count on people’s behavior. It’s very rare that your gifts are returned from the people you give them to.”
“Teach children to be the authors of their own image.”
This was my last session of the conference *single tear falls from my eye. I felt like I had done so much but still managed to miss out on a lot. Keep in mind that I didn't attend every session. There was just no way humanly possible. Some sessions happened simultaneously so you had no choice but to choose. For other sessions I may have missed, there simply wasn’t enough time to attend. I hear I missed a great discussion in the Moving from Pain to POWER session and the Masterful Moves with Optimal Impact session featuring moderator Star Jones. I may have missed some interesting things, but I couldn’t have asked for a better summit experience.
Farewell Celebration and Dinner
The summit culminated in a ceremony, which celebrated the 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America as named by Black Enterprise. After the winners were acknowledged and dinner was served, the evening transitioned to entertainment. Attendees enjoyed the comedic stylings of Ameberia Allen, Zainab Johnson, and Hadiyah Robinson of the Hey Ladies Tour. After we all had our chuckle it was time for the headliners, Boyz II Men.
There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to close out the summit. Guest let lose and 90’s nostalgia filled the room. I almost didn’t want it to end. Well that’s a lie. I actually didn’t want it to end but alas it did and I had work in the morning. So there you have it. Amazing summit. Amazing experience. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Did I say Amazing. Well done BE, well done.
Check out some more pictures from day three.
Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.