In 2010 I was invited to participate in a roundtable hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on elevating women’s status in business with other esteemed women business leaders. She emphasized the importance of mentoring, equality and life/work balance and much more.
At the roundtable, I shared a personal story from many years prior about advice I had received from a male mentor.
Practice the profession of being a superior businessperson, whether I was male or female. Comprehend profit and loss statements and balance sheets, and learn how to develop revenue streams. His simple advice was lucid and relevant, and I never forgot it.
As I listened around the room all of us had mentors that were helping to lift us up and guide us along our journey.
At that roundtable Senator Gillibrand encouraged all of us to take an active role in helping generate more female business leaders and devise new platforms for ongoing discussion. Our ultimate goal would be to propel more women into executive suites.
HIA-LI accepted the challenge. We heeded the Senator’s call by instituting a panel series highlighting the challenges women face in the workplace.
It didn’t surprise me that at HIA-LI’s highly successful, Eighth Annual “Women Leading the Way” panel and networking breakfast held November 29, with many executive suite and young females in the room, the value of mentor support was a recurring theme.
HIA-LI is grateful to our moderator Domenique Camacho-Moran, a partner at Farrell Fritz P.C., as well as panelists Karen Frank of Omnicon, a HBM Prenscia subsidiary; Theresa Ferraro of East/West Industries; Gwen O’Shea of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island; and Anne Shybunko-Moore of GSE Dynamics.
Panelists agreed that life/work blending and support is essential for building women’s already impressive status in today’s business world: some ten million women-owned firms employ more than 13 million workers and generate more than $1.9 trillion in sales.
Panelist Karen Frank urged women to build their own strong networks. Through mentoring and network building, Karen said, “we can navigate this landscape better than in the past.”
This forum isn’t just a place to sip coffee and discuss women in business once a year: it’s a real-life mentoring event and a vibrant networking marketplace.
Moreover, it’s become a proud and valuable HIA-LI tradition. Thanks to all for making it a success!