The Daily News hosted the third annual Women & Business Seminar at the Brooks Museum. This year was the second in a row in which the event sold out. We are honored to have been a sponsor since the seminar’s inception and to have Linda Lauer speak about the national CBIZ Women’s Advantage in the event’s opening remarks. This year’s keynote speaker was Keri Wright, Chairman and CEO of Universal Asset Management (UAM).
Appointed to Chief Operating Officer at UAM when she was only 25, Keri attributes her success to finding confidence and courage in herself. Her speech was particularly focused on finding these traits at a young age, something she gained while flying an airplane solo at the age of 15. Pointedly, Keri can relate everything in her career to “having to land the plane.” The phrase repeatedly served as the driver behind all of Keri’s points in her speech, whether it be literally or figuratively. Keri notes that learning to take full ownership of a tough situation with confidence and courage and seeing it through is what she strives to teach young women.
The Q&A section allowed audience members to inquire about common issues in the workplace including flexible work arrangements, work-life balance, and finding trusted business partners. Kim Grant, Owner of Kim Grant Homes, echoed Keri’s sentiments regarding age being a business hurdle she has had to overcome. Interestingly, even with both women working in extremely male-dominated industries, each claimed age to be her larger issue at hand.
Judy McLellan of Crye-Leike spoke to the importance of having a mentor, citing her mother, a former realtor, as her biggest influence. And Lauren McHugh, President of Huey’s, also noted the importance of finding a mentor at a young age, noting that connecting with someone early on in your career can be a tremendous help in your professional growth.
The entire panel spurred the over 250 women and men into discussion, and the room’s intimate setting allowed for quick dialogue. Publisher of the Daily News, Eric Barnes, took questions up until the last second with hands still raised. With the chatter only continuing at the event’s wine and cheese reception, one thing is clear - the women & business seminar series is flying, and it doesn’t look like it’s ready to land anytime soon.