Eight Inspiring Soundbites from the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference

The following blog post was written by Wallace Gundy, MBA Class of 2020 and Simon Forté Fellow

Every now and then, I need a good old-fashioned dose of girl power! But attending the annual Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference with 14 other Simon Forté Fellows was that and a whole lot more. All of the nerves went away, and the anxious inner-monologue of “Can I really do this? Can I really get my MBA?” was drowned out by great conversation, connection making, laughter, and a pretty incredible #FortéPowerUp Spotify playlist. Being surrounded by 700+ women in my shoes, and embarking on this journey together, made for three incredible days and the perfect kickstart to my two years of business school.

Simon ladies #PowerUp!

Simon women #PowerUp!

The facts are the facts. Only five percent of current Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Women hold just over 20% of board seats in the Fortune 1000 companies. There is a gender wage gap of 20 percent, with women earning only 80 cents for every dollar men earn.

But after hearing from so many talented and successful women leaders in business, I am not only optimistic, I am certain that our generation will make a huge difference. We are smart, we are capable, we are empathetic, and we are ready to #PowerUp. Below are just a few of the comments I took away from the conference that I will carry with me over these next two years and beyond.

“Risk taking is a muscle you need to exercise.”
Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer – North America, Accenture
The unknown is tough and risks are scary. But they are so worth it. Julie also shared that she has a placard in her office that reads, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” Keep dreaming.

“One hand reaching up, one hand reaching back.”
Melissa Arnoldi, President, AT&T Technology & Operations
We are going to need to reach for help from others. But guess what? Women are going to be needing to reach for our help too.

“Find the thing that even senior people want to come to you for.”
Lori Heinel, Executive Vice President & Deputy Global Chief Investment Officer, State Street Global Advisors
Be an expert in something that is invaluable. Even if it’s small, if it’s the thing only you can do, you will be invaluable, too.

“Be a group of women that will create more firsts than this world knows what to do with.”
Noemie Tilghman, Principal Strategy & Operations, Deloitte
We are ready, Noemie!

Several Simon Forté fellows posed with a banner of Lydia Perez Poole '06S (MBA).

Several Simon Forté Fellows posed with a banner of Lydia Perez Poole, a 2006 Simon MBA graduate.

“Focus on what matters, but keep an open mind. Whenever things get hard, go back and think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Take some chances. You might be surprised by how much you might learn.”
Lydia Perez Poole, Simon MBA ’06, Shopper Insights & Analytics Leader, Procter & Gamble
It’s a big world out there and you never know what opportunities you might encounter. Stay focused but not confined. Otherwise, you could miss out on something great.

“It’s not a career ladder, it’s a career jungle gym.”
Jennifer Bosl, Regional Operations Director, DaVita Kidney Care
If there is one thing I’ve already learned, it’s that careers aren’t linear. That’s part of why I am at Simon! Embrace the non-linear path! You never know where it could lead you.

“Come in every day and earn your chair.”
Kelly Greenauer, Data Quality Manager, M&T Bank
Make every day matter. Give it your all. Leave your job each day better than you found it that morning.

“Exercise your agency. Make your school a place where women can thrive as much as men do. When women around you succeed, celebrate their victories. Cheer loudly for them. Support them.”
Jessica Raasch, 2018 Edie Hunt Inspiration Award Winner
As a recent MBA graduate, Jessica was in our shoes just two years ago. Her words were the perfect conclusion to the conference.

I think I can speak for all of the Simon Forté Fellows when I say we will exercise our agency. We will support and celebrate one another. And we will all make Simon an even better place for women to grow as the next generation of leaders. Together.

 

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.