2021 ELC Virtual Women’s Leadership Forum Recap

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Nearly 100 women ELC Members gathered virtually for the 2021 ELC Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) on July 21st. ELC President and CEO, Mike Hyter, opened the 18th annual event, EmpowHER Brilliance, created exclusively for ELC women, by ELC women. Gail Peterson, Chief Marketing Officer for Ecolab, served as emcee.

This powerful half-day virtual meeting kicked off with “Transition, Transformation, and Triumph,” a discussion of navigating career transitions from large corporations to smaller companies, retirement, entrepreneurship, and board directorships. ELC women members heard stories from Black women who have transformed obstacles into opportunities, weathered storms, and blazed new trails — all while keeping things moving forward. The session was moderated by Angela Guy, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, L’Oreal North America, and featured panelists Cindy R. Kent, Executive Vice President and President, Brookdale Senior Living and Board Director, Accolade Inc., Kim A. Nelson, Board Director, Colgate-Palmolive, Cummins Inc. and Tate & Lyle PLC, and Kim A. Newton, Founder, International Pause Project and Board of Director, Big Lots.

The first “She Suite Conversations, a Fireside Chat” session was an informative interview with Thasunda Brown Duckett, President and CEO of TIAA, conducted by Carla A. Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, and Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley. This in-depth conversation allowed ELC women members to hear from one of the two Black women CEOs in Fortune 100 companies. Duckett shared her views and guiding principles of leadership. “Titles are rented, character is owned. Lead with who you are,” said Duckett.

“The Band of Sisterhood, a Fireside Chat” was a discussion with author Westina Matthews, Ph.D. on her newly-released book, The Band of Sisterhood. This insightful conversation explored the unique journey of trailblazing Black women in the clergy and their perspectives on leadership that apply to Black women in leadership roles across all sectors. This session was moderated by Susan E. Chapman-Hughes, Board Director, The J.M. Smucker Co. and Toast Inc.

The virtual WLF experience featured two additional Fireside Chats before closing.

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, was interviewed by Gina F. Adams, Corporate Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, FedEx Corporation. This session was a lively discussion that highlighted Marshall’s future-forward vision for making the world better than she found it. Marshall candidly shared her many career roles and her experience in entering the world of sports.

The Women’s Leadership Forum: EmpowHER Brilliance closed with an interview with Caroline A. Wanga, CEO, Essence Communications, Inc. Lakecia N. Gunter, Vice President and General Manager, Internet of Things (IoT) Global Channel Sales Global Partner Solutions, Microsoft Corporation, elicited powerful insights on perseverance from Wanga who shared pivotal moments in her life and career journey.

The Forum concluded with the “Cocktails and Conversations” session that connected small groups of women, and built their small cabinet with allies and experts. The women attendees also received gift boxes with treasures made by Black women entrepreneurs.

Thank you, FedEx, L’Oreal, and Microsoft for sponsoring the 2021 ELC Women’s Leadership Forum!

Join us on July 19-22, 2022 for next year’s Women’s Leadership Forum. We look forward to seeing you in person!

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