Tag Archives: Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Recommended Reading

All right everyone take out your To-Read lists. We’re going to add a few new selections to it.  So last week I spoke about the Women of Power Summit. Not surprisingly, many of the panelists and speakers who participated in the event have authored books, and deservingly, some of these books have been best sellers.

Check out some of the recent works form some of the event’s attendees: 

  • Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back from a Personal Crisis – Judy Smith
  • The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are - Elizabeth R. Thornton
  • Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career - Carla A Harris
  • 7-Step, Battle-Tested Methods for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. - Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour
  • The Young Professionals Handbook - Deborah Gray-Young
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 - Tom Rath
  • Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting - Terrie Williams
  • No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love - Lisa Nichols
  • Hybrid Leader: Blending the Best of the Male & Female Leadership Styles - Trudy Bourgeois

Recommended but not written by participants

  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis
  • Career GPS: Strategies for Women Navigating the New Corporate Landscape - Ella L. J. Edmondson, PhD Bell, Linda Villarosa



Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 3 2015

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:

Susan Taylor Essence Mag National CARES

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.

Getting Unstuck!

Getting unstuck Women Of Power Summit 2015

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

Luncheon BE Women of Power Summit Yellow dress Macy's Fashion Show Women of Power Summit


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

Real Talk Women of Power Summit Susan Taylor Pam Grier

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

50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America Women of Power Summit

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.

Boyz II Men Women of Power Summit 2015

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.

BE Women Of Power Summit Day 2 Legacy Awards

When I said day two was action-packed I was not kidding. Breaking it up into two sections was the only way to go. Now for the deets on day two part two.

Power Lunch | One-on-One Conversation featuring Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson Ariel Investments Caroline Clarke Women of Power TV

All right, let’s eat. After an intense morning of activities, it was time for a recharge with the afternoon’s power lunch.  Host of Women of Power TV, Caroline Clarke sat down with Melody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments L.L.C. and Chairman of the Board of Dreamworks Animation.

As Caroline probed Mellody about her career journey we discovered that she has had the same job for over 23 years. Obviously she’s moved up in her career since graduating from Princeton but she has worked for the same company for over 23 years. When she first joined Ariel she would follow her boss (John Rogers) around trying to squeeze any information out of him she could. She followed him on his regular McDonald’s trips and sat with him as he took in his morning reading. She would sit in silence reading the same magazines he was reading and waited for him to talk to her. When he would finally speak, he would ask her to do something and she would dutifully jot it down while he went right back to his reading.

She would take any bad assignment as long as she was given a shot, she recalled. Rogers warned her early on “ You’re going to be with people that make a lot of money and have big titles but it doesn’t mean they have better ideas than you.” She also remembered speaking with Tom Joyner, who in her words was “unapologetically black.” He told her “‘Don’t apologize for being who you are or your interests.” As far as one of the best pieces of advice she’d ever received, it was to simply to “smile a lot.”

My Favorite Mellody Hobson quotes

“Sometimes you have to give up on perfect for fast.”

“I’ve taught myself to get on the other side of it. What’s the worst that could happen?” (In regards to dealing with fear).

“I like things to be well done. I want to be great. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great.”

Leverage Your Power – Clifton Strengths Finder Powered by Gallup

Paul Allen StrengthsFinder Gallup

This next session was all about self awareness and understanding how to leverage your strengths to solve complex issues and positively impact your professional performance. Facilitated by Paul Allen, Chief Evangelist for StrengthsFinder, and co-founder of Ancestry.com.

To really get full value out of this session one would have had to have already taken the StrengthFinder assessment. But for those of us who hadn’t, this session provided a good starting point for understanding why it’s so important to identify and understand your strengths and find the corresponding needs for each strength. For example where "Learner" is identified as strength, we know that the Learner needs exposure to new information and experiences in order to thrive.

StrengthFinder employee well-being infographic

The session helped put into perspective that even “negative” personality traits are positive in the right circumstances. This assessment enables us to focus on what’s right instead of accepting what is wrong because when you can’t do what you were designed to do, it’s very difficult to stay engaged.  A great takeaway from this session was somewhat of a formula for identifying your strengths.

5 Clues To Talent

  1. Yearning – What did you yearn to do as a child?
  2. Rapid Learning – Things you pick naturally without much practice or instruction.
  3. Glimpses of Excellence – When someone else observes a skill or talent you posses that you may not have noticed yourself.
  4. Satisfaction – After your hard work is done and everything is complete out the feeling when you get when it’s over is that you can’t wait to do it again.
  5. Flow (Timelessness) – You get so caught up doing what you’re doing that you loose track of time.

10th Annual Legacy Awards Gala

Valerie Coleman Morris Legacy Awards Gala

Moving from the daytime events to the evening festivities, attendees gathered in the grand ballroom for an elegant evening honoring the inspiring women who were the recipients of the Legacy Award this year. Dinner was fabulous and wine flowed freely as we gathered to pay homage to an incredible group of women.

Legacy Award Recipients

Charlayne Hunter-Gault - Journalist Legacy Award

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, American Journalist and former Foreign Correspondent, National Public Radio & Public Broadcasting Service - awarded for her contributions to the field of journalism.

Susan L. Taylor Essence Magazine, National CARES Mentoring Movement- Legacy Award

Susan L. Taylor, Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Essence magazine - recognized for her role as editor in chief of essence magazine for years and now for creating the national cares organization.

Pam Grier Actress -Legacy Award

Pam Grier, Actress and Activist - recognized for her work in film, the empowered women she portrayed and for her activism.

Barbara Graves Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Spelman College Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, PH.D., President, Spelman College - recognized for her accomplishments in her role as president of the illustrious Spellman College.

Oh what a spectacular night it was. The inspiring stories and the works of these accomplished women were all truly deserving of every bit of adulation they were showered with this evening. I was so appreciative to be in the room, loving each and every minute and still there was more to come. Stay tuned for my day 3 recap ladies. You won’t want to miss that either.  In the meantime, check out some additional pictures from the day's events.


Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 2

After day one’s inspiring Purpose & Pearls Beach Party, I knew I would have a lot to look forward to on day two. For the early risers the day began at 6:00 a.m. with the Power Cardio Sculpt and Yoga on the Beach sessions. For the majority of the attendees including myself the day began a little later with a continental breakfast feast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 am

We’ve Got the Power!

6445 Lisa Nichols BE Women of Power Summit 2015

Immediately following breakfast, we officially began the day with the "We’ve Got the Power" session featuring speaker Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating the Masses, Inc.  Lisa is a successful entrepreneur and best selling author of 6 books. She was featured in the self-help movie The Secret and has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and Extra.  From the moment she walked out on stage you could see that Ms. Nichols was a firecracker (read: commercial grade firework). She got the crowd fired up in a manner that I have only ever seen from the likes of Tony Robbins or Oprah herself.

My favorite quotes from Lisa’s session:

“Power is in the surrender to your assignment.”

“Power is in living your life in seasons and recognizing when some seasons are over.”

“Allow your greatness to show up even if people don’t like it.”

“Comparison is the thief of all joy.”

“Power is in your down moment. That’s when you remember who you were born to be. This circumstance does not define me.”

Lisa told her story, letting us in on some of her hardships.  As she told a particular story she recalled a moment where she was on public assistance and had run out of diapers for her baby.  It was the weekend and she’d gone to the ATM to pull money out but only had eleven dollars and change available. With the ATM only dispensing cash in increments of $20, she would be forced to wait until Monday morning to retrieve the remaining cash from her account. For two days she wrapped her baby in a towel as a substitute for the diapers. It was then that she held her baby and told him not to worry because they would never have to go through this again.  After years of building her business she stated that her company was now near the launch of their IPO. What was the sassy statement she made to punctuate this accomplishment? “From Public Assistance to going public.” To that statement the crowd leapt to their feet with roaring shouts and applause.  Was I at church or the first leadership session of the day? I couldn’t tell.


Zero to Breakthrough

6454 Vernice FlyGirl Armour BE Women of Power Summit 2015

The second session of the day featured Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, President, VAI Consulting & Training L.L.C. Vernice was the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces and is author of Zero to Breakthrough; 7-Step, Battle-Tested Methods for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. Vernice took the stage in what appeared to be an official combat pilot uniform.  She discussed seizing opportunities and acknowledging obstacles.  She spoke of the moment were she decided she wanted to attend a conference but was short on funds. She made a decision to make a “gutsy move“ embarking on a road trip to the conference. As she told this story, Vernice began removing her flight suit. She revealed the tailored shirt and dress slacks she was sporting underneath. She switched out the boots for heels and put on a red jacket. Continuing her story, she told us how she drove for hours not knowing what the outcome would be or how she would pay for anything. Upon her arrival she met an event organizer who told her a speaker had just dropped out and asked her to speak in that persons place.  He also informed her that all of her expenses would be fully taken care of.

My favorite quotes from Vernice’s session:

“Opportunities don’t go away other people take advantage of them.”

“Acknowledge the obstacles. Don’t give them power!”

“A breakthrough mentality creates your reality.”

“Make your gutsy move.”

At the end of her segment FlyGirl held up a copy of her book. Lisa Nichols who had just taken the stage before her had given a gift to the entire audience but FlyGirl had something else in mind. She stated that she didn’t have enough books to give away to the entire audience but still wanted to giveaway her book to attendees. “Who wants this book?” she asked. The audience roared and clapped some raised their hands. “Who wants this book?” she asked again. More shouting and clapping. I believe it was on the 4th instance of her asking that same question that one woman got out of her seat and approached Ms. Armour with her hand held out. FlyGirl happily handed her the book. “Make your gutsy move.” She reiterated.  You could feel the entire crowd experience an aha! moment.

Building Real leadership in Real Time

6458 Building Real Leadership

Next up was an executive leadership panel and probably my favorite panel of the summit.


Elizabeth R. Thornton, Author and Professor of Management Practice, Babson Executive Education, Babson College 


  • Adrienne Lofton - SVP, Global Brand Marketing, Under Armor
  • Ramona Rogers-Windsor - Managing Director, Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Co. LLC.
  • Katrina Adams - Chairman, CEO & President, USTA (United States Tennis Association)

The session covered a myriad of subjects pertaining to leadership timelines and plotting a realistic trajectory that fits your life and career objectives. I questioned the panel about the setbacks of race and gender and my own personality trait of introversion and the responses were enlightening.  The overwhelming sentiment was that I should derive power from being black and female as apposed to viewing those things as crutches. Ramona revealed that she doesn’t think about race or gender while Katrina directed me to replace Black, Woman, Introvert with Courage Grace, Dignity.

These women exhibited a certain level of poise and confidence that I completely admire and by the end of the session it felt like some of that aura had been transferred over to me.  I was thinking about possessing the ability to walk into a room or situation with confidence because I not only have a strong sense of self I also have the knowledge and know the details. As Adrienne put it, “When you’re maniacal about knowing the business it’s easy to feel confident in having a point of view.”

Some other standout quotes from the session.


“Stand up. Stand out. Have a point of view. Stay measured”

“Lead through where you are most passionate.”

“Always think about what’s next.”

“Go slow to go fast.”


“I care very little about what people think.”

“Ask for what you want.”

“Find people who want you to succeed.”


“Mental models drive our perceptions about the way things are supposed to be.”

“Embrace the path that you lead and enjoy the battle.

“Start with a dream and be disciplined.”


Day two was so action packed I had to split it up into two posts. Stay tuned for Day 2- Part two.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.


In case you missed the recap of day one, check it out here.

Caroline Clark Women of Power TV

What’s it all about?

I heard about this event one morning on the radio and decided to look into attending. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss it all these years, but this year the summit celebrated its 10th anniversary in a three-day long celebration that can only be described as awe inspiring.

The title of the event alone should be enough to give you an indication of what transpires here but in case it doesn’t, the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit is an annual executive leadership conference held by Black Enterprise and hosted by title sponsor State Farm. Each year powerful women in Corporate America convene in droves to meet, connect, and learn from one another. Sessions and keynote speakers cover issues like career advancement strategies, work/life balance and money management. What I discovered was how truly indicative of its name the summit is, providing a preeminent forum for women of color to come together to network and build lasting relationships.

Let’s talk about Day 1

Monday was the unofficial start to the summit. While activities like the Wine & Design painting class and shopping excursion to Macy's took place during the day, conference attendees began to arrive at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach to pick up their registration packets before the first leadership event of the night, the Purpose & Pearls Beach Party. The all white affair, which touted a keynote address from Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senor Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley gave clear indication to how wonderful the rest of the summit’s events would be.

Held on the Ocean Patio of the hotel overlooking beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach, the atmosphere of the evening was something of sheer elegance. Guests stunned in chic, all-white ensembles and were seated at tables set with all-white linens and florals as ambient lighting from all-white candles romanticized the space.

Atendees BE Women of Power Summit

The first keynote of the summit, which was from the wildly charismatic and captivating Carla Harris, provided personal details on her career journey, letting us in on the secrets of some of what she's gone through to accomplish what she has in her career to date. She spoke at length on the powers of staying true to yourself and not losing sight of who you are as person. As an accomplished singer and businesswoman one of the “pearls of wisdom” she shared with attendees was letting go of the notion that she should never mix those two parts of her life. Harris realized after making a connection based on a shared interest of music that she should embrace her true self. On a second occasion when her company was among several bidding for an account with McDonald's, it was her ability to remember a specific version of the McDonald's jingle and sing it to the CEO (who could not recall that there had ever been an alternate version to begin with) that would help form a relationship that would be the catalyst for landing her firm the deal.

Carla Harris Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management Morgan Stanley

She said some other things that really resonated with me. First, “Your voice is at the heart of your power”. The second was a ditty she recited that went like this: “A bell is not a bell until you ring it. A song is not a song until you sing it. Power was not put in your hands to stay. Power isn’t’ power until you give it away.” And the third builds on the ditty. “Don’t sleep on your power to influence change in your work, life, or the world. It is in us to be used.” Preach Ms. Carla, preach.

Jackie Daniel and Carla Harris

I seized the opportunity to chat with Carla after her address and ask her for advice on how to handle some recent events in my own personal career journey. While I won’t divulge her specific advice to me, I can say that she spoke to my soul and it was an honor and a pleasure to get her input. Wow if this was night one, I could only imagine what day two had in store. Check out the slide show for more photos from the evening.

I’ll cover day two in tomorrow’s post. You won’t want to miss it.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.