Tag Archives: Susan L. Taylor

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.