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International Women’s Day: New York #PressforProgress Panel discussion

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, our Williams Lea Tag Americas team hosted a panel discussion on Advocacy, Activism and Support of Gender Equality in Executive Leadership.

Williams Lea Tag International Women's Day 2018 Panel Discussion - New York
Panelists from left to right: Chelsea Gibson, Cynthia Del Rosario, Farryn Melton, Kim Gardner, Lori Straker, Kelli Cooney and Aurora Coya

The panel brought together executive leaders from a diverse group of clients and sectors.

Kelli Cooney, Director of Administration, Arnold & Porter
Cynthia Del Rosario, Founder and CEO, 7Miles Global
Kim Gardner, Executive Director, Shearman & Sterling
Farryn Melton, SVP and CPO, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Lori Straker, VP Supplier Management, Barclays Bank
Chelsea Gibson, Americas CFO, Williams Lea Tag
The panel was moderated by Aurora Coya from Williams Lea Tag

The panelists brought enthusiasm, energy and different perspectives to a very lively discussion with topics ranging from work-life balance and executive empowerment to mentoring and motivating teams.

Here are the top themes the panel discussion emphasized:

1.Successful leaders are change agile. They understand change is inevitable in life and business, and necessary for growth. They embrace change and strive for innovation. They have fine-tuned their willingness to say “yes”. They have a can-do attitude and a willingness to try something outside of their comfort zone. They understand that failure is a part of growth.

2. Women bring unique strengths to management that are inherent in their roles outside the corporate environment. Wife, mother, caretaker; managing, and often juggling these roles requires multi-tasking, delegation and management skills.  The very same skills are necessary for strong leadership in business.

3. Confidence and relevance are the keys to being heard in a corporate environment. Women in business often feel that their ideas are drowned out in a sea of voices. Asking for feedback, taking risks, seeking confident role models and helping move discussion to action were all tactics the panelists said they used to successfully navigate corporate conversations.

4. Achieving a satisfying work-life balance is a journey, not a destination. It requires acknowledging that sometimes priorities are at odds and you can’t be perfect at everything. At best, you should strive to be “in the moment” and commit to being the best mother, wife, manager, friend, co-worker, you can be, when you are focused in that area. Understanding that both personal and business priorities shift over time and re-evaluating career decisions to support those priorities are keys to success strategies.

5. Diversity and inclusion are the keys to empowerment – for women and men. Empowerment is not gender specific. We all must own it. It needs to be ingrained in our corporate cultures as well as our individual actions. Whether it’s establishing full-time Diversity & Inclusion roles at their companies, adding Diversity & Inclusion to corporate goals, providing a forum to share experiences, or giving team members a chance to shine; our panelists all agreed that leadership can’t settle for anything less than a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

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