The ELC Hosts 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum in Philadelphia Ahead of the Democratic National Convention


July 26th, 2016


On Wednesday, July 20th, The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) hosted the 2016 Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF), an annual one-day career and professional development event designed for black women executives. The event, themed “Connected Influence: Leveraging Up,” brought nearly 160 women members of The ELC and their guests to the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia, PA to listen and partake in candid panel discussions that featured corporate thought leaders and top business executives.

Attendees heard from fellow ELC members and other influential black women in business who shared advice and personal insights for how to leverage your connected influence. The discussion focused on key strategies for building a strong, professional network that fosters growth, collaboration and support among black women professionals.

The day got underway with welcome remarks from ELC President & CEO Ronald C. Parker and ELC Board Chair Rhonda Mims, Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Paul Hastings, LLP. WLF Co-Chairs Carolyn Green of Professional Environment Engineers, Inc., and Charisse R. Lillie of the Comcast Corporation and Comcast Foundation, delivered greetings to the group and introduced fellow ELC member and Corporate Culture Advisor Tara Jaye Frank. Tara opened the program with an interactive working session focused on reshaping the outcomes for black women in business.

Regrettably, WLF Co-Chair Ehrika Gladden of Cisco Systems was unable to join the group for this year’s event. In her absence, the co-chairs welcomed four of Ehrika’s Cisco friends and colleagues who attended on her behalf, including Rhonda Henley, Lena Hickman-Miott, Necole Jackson and Angela Miller.

The day continued with several dynamic speakers and thought-provoking panels that focused on career advancement, personal development, executive sponsorship, corporate governance and social activism. The program featured an inspiring group of exceptional speakers who were eager to share their advice and lessons learned.

Speakers included: Tara Jaye Frank, TJF Career Modeling; Gerri Mason Hall, Sodexo, Inc.; George Chavel, Sodexo North America (retired); Jacqueline Woods, IBM Corporation; Paula Cholmondeley, The Sorrel Group; Karen Fenaroli, Fenaroli & Associates; Lauren States, Clean Harbors; Racquel Oden, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Yvette Butler, Capital One Investing; Stacey D. Stewart, United Way Worldwide; Ambassador Bisa Williams, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger; and ELC Immediate Past Chair Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley. Each speaker spoke on subject areas relevant to their current professional journeys.

In the evening, WLF expanded into a broader, on-the-record panel discussion titled “Black Women On…Connected Influence: Shaping America's Political Landscape” featuring an exclusive group of women who have carried a torch for inclusion in the political realm. These women have built a legacy of talent and influence as trusted experts, confidants and counsel to some of America’s most powerful leaders. Panelists included: Renee Amoore, President, The Amoore Group, Inc.; Yolanda Caraway, President & CEO, The Caraway Group, Inc and Leah Daughtry, CEO, Democratic National Convention Committee (2016 & 2008) who is the first person in Democratic Party history to hold the position twice. ELC member and WLF Co-Chair Charisse R. Lillie served as moderator.

A special thanks to The ELC’s 2016 WLF presenting sponsor Capital One and Ballard Spahr LLP for hosting this year’s event at the Pyramid Club; as well as the 2016 WLF Planning Committee and corporate sponsors for their generous contributions in support of this year’s event:

Gold Sponsor: Accenture; Silver Sponsors: Cisco Systems, Comcast NBCUniversal, FIS Group and Verizon; Partner Sponsors: Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Strategic Sponsors: Duke Energy, Express Scripts and Bloomberg; and Gift Sponsor: Target.

Mark your calendars now! WLF 2017 will take place on July 18-19. Don’t miss out.

(L-R) WLF Co-Chairs Charisse R. Lille, Comcast Corporation and Comcast Foundation; Carolyn Green, Professional Environment Engineers, Inc; and Ehrika Gladden, Cisco Systems at the WLF members' welcome reception.

ELC Member Tara Jaye Frank, TFJ Career Modeling, discussing "Redesigning the Narrative."

ELC Immediate Past Board Chair Carla Harris, Vice Chair of Morgan Stanley, giving advice and insights during her session "Connecting with Carla."

ELC members and guest enjoying the post-event networking reception.

WLF Co-Chair Charisse R. Lillie moderating the "Black Women On..." panel discussion featuring (L-R) Renee Amoore, President, The Amoore Group, Inc.; Leah Daughtry, CEO, Democratic National Convention Committee (2016 & 2008); and Yolanda Caraway, President & CEO, The Caraway Group, Inc.



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