in the Mix
4/17/2013, 11:05 a.m.
This week it’s all about highlighting women who rock, from the Simmons Leadership Conference to The Links, Inc. organization to one very inspirational woman.
Women of Influence…
The annual 2013 Simmons Leadership Conference was an amazing day from beginning to end, with a whopping 3,300 individuals attending the day-long event. The conference featured dynamic women in the fields of finance, business, communications, marketing and social media. The opening keynote kicked off with Sallie Krawcheck, who is widely regarded as one of the most powerful women on Wall Street for more than a decade. Her topic was on Leadership Lessons for Women in Business. Intelligent and very funny, Krawcheck spoke about lessons she learned when she “leaned in” but received a “palm out” on Wall Street. Translation: she was fired twice and bounced back. Of her experiences she said “one road leads to another even if you can’t see where it’s going.”
Next up was the fabulous Judy Smith (the inspiration behind ABC’s hit TV show “Scandal”), who has run a crisis communications firm for the last 25 years. Smith was engaging, funny and down-to-earth as she spoke about her experiences running her company and working for some powerful clients. Smith worked her magic on the crowd as she weaved between the rows and captivated the women in the audience. One of the similarities between her and her TV alter ego Olivia Pope is that she trusts her gut before taking on new clients and that “life requires action.”
The day only got better with the afternoon keynote by Anna Deavere Smith, who touched on the concept of winning and the concept of grace. She was followed by a signature dialogue with fashion designer Josie Natori, who was charming and very graceful. Natori spoke about growing up in a close-knit Filipino family in Manila and how she “prepared for the dips and the peaks” in her career in Manhattan and eventually launched the global company that bears her name. She said having a vision is a must and that evolution is key, because if you stand still it’s the same as moving backwards.
The day ended with the absolutely fabulous Viola Davis, who gave the closing keynote “On Becoming A Woman of Influence.” She touched upon her life growing up in poverty in Rhode Island and how that shaped her into becoming an actor, and discussed her breakout role in “The Help.” Her honesty and openness about her experiences was raw, real and refreshing.
Sip, Shop and Socialize…
It was a journey through spring as The Links Inc., put on a festive and bold fashion show and makeup and fragrance demonstrations at Saks Fifth Avenue to benefit The Links Foundation. There were splashes of cobalt blue, yellow and orange on the runway, as a sea of women of color and all ages (300 strong to be exact) held court on the second floor of Saks. The evening event was part of the national organization’s Eastern area conference, where over 500 women were in attendance.