5 Key Career Takeaways from the 2017 Women of Power Summit

I had the privilege of attending the 12th annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit as a BE Contributor with behind-the-scenes access to one of the most incredible conferences I’ve ever attended. Seriously, the Women of Power Summit was the Super Bowl of career conferences—an abundance of corporate and entrepreneurial powerhouse women who are changing the game.

From awards ceremonies honoring living legends like Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Caesar, Ursula Burns, and Marcia Ann Gillespie to intimate fireside chats with pop culture critic and New York Times best-selling author, Luvvie Ajayi, and career conversations with author Tiffany Dufu, to sister girl sessions with Apple rock-star executive, Bozoma Saint John and Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth—oh, and dance lesson with Beyoncé’s dance captains—this conference was e-ve-ry-thing!

Before I get carried away reliving the moments, let’s get into these top career takeaways from the weekend.

 

  1. Pick Your PowerSUITE

(Image: Dee Marshall/Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Certified coach and empowerment speaker Dee Marshall kicked off the weekend by empowering attendees with the secret to ‘up level’ their careers and extend their reach—identifying their ‘power suite’—“a group of like-minded, advancing professionals who are mutual contributors to each other’s careers.

 

2. To Thine Own Self Be True

 

power summit (Phylicia Rashad 12th Annual Legacy Awards Gala hosted by PepsiCo. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Not to quote Hamlet, but to channel Legacy Award recipient, Phylicia Rashad who shared that the key to her success has been knowing herself and staying true to who she innately is, in other words—do not search for accolades, just do the work.

 

3. Carpe Diem . . . Seize the Day

 

(Ursula Burns 12th Annual Legacy Awards Gala hosted by PepsiCo. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Who knew that my power suite partner’s bio break would turn into a career high for me; her trip to the restroom put me squarely in the path of my career idol, Ursula Burns, the first African American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Xerox). You know you’ve picked the right partner when the universe conspires with her to make your dreams come true. My point is . . . check out the attendee list, plan who you want to connect with, and put yourself in the path of your plan and for heaven’s sake, INTRODUCE YOURSELF!

 

4. Connect…We are Stronger Together

 

(Image: Bozoma Saint John and Elaine Welteroth. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Boz Saint John and Elaine Welteroth talked intimately about the power of sisterhood at the top. Both shared candid ways they’ve supported each other since acquiring top roles at Apple and Teen Vogue and how they both have used their platform to demonstrate that being your authentic self is possible all while influencing change. Saint John shared intimately about how early on in her career she attempted to assimilate into what she thought was the corporate image of a leader, but in the end, she discovered that people responded the same even when she showed up with out-of-the-box attire, big hair, and brazen professional courage. She encouraged women not to shrink from who you are. She also shared how she sought out Elaine after her promotion was announced to provide similar lessons learned because she genuinely wanted her to succeed. Welteroth shared that largely because of women like Boz and her powerful circle, as well as women across the globe, she doesn’t take her responsibility as the first black female editor of Teen Vogue lightly. So the moral is, other successful women aren’t your competition, in fact, many are rooting for you. Remember to stay connected to women who align to your core values and career pace … there is room for everyone to win at the TOP!

 

5. Mix It Up

 

(Image: TV personality Alesha Renee, Altrichia Cook, Ashley Everett, and Denee Baptiste. Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

 

Branch out. Attend the scheduled social events. And maybe sit in on sessions you wouldn’t normally attend like the Get in Formation panel that was moderated by TV personality Alesha Renee featuring Allusions by A. Lekay designer, Altrichia Cook and Beyoncé’s dance captains Ashley Everett and Denee Baptiste. These ladies didn’t hold back on sharing secrets for staying physically fit on the go and mentally fit by celebrating the accomplishments of one another; to empower and not envy.

Black girl magic was served in Phoenix! Make sure to mark your calendar now for the 2018 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit at Walt Disney Resorts in Orlando, Florida— I’m sure sisters will be serving magic AND sunshine!

 

 

 


Toni is the CEO & founder of The Corporate Tea, an online resource that provides unfiltered advice to help professionals navigate their careers. Toni is a Career Strategist & HR Blogger with over a decade of experience in corporate America. For more insights and advice, follow her @thecorporatetea

The 2017 Women of Power Summit: Day Three Recap

The third day and final day of the Black Enterprise 2017 Women of Power Summit left hundreds of women feeling uplifted, inspired. It included empowering panel discussions, a fashion show, a gospel concert that moved the audience to tears, and a tea party, where attendees showed off their finest hats and sundresses.

The day began with a health and wellness forum, which dispelled myths surrounding veganism. This ultimately encouraged participants to “get in formation,” in regards to maintaining their health.

The day continued with a number of transformational panels, in which high-powered, corporate leaders—such as Kristin Jones, special assistant and director of special projects to former First Lady Michelle Obama; Lauren Wesley Wilson, president of ColorComm; and Tiffany Dufu, chief leadership officer of Levo and author—shared their expertise and strategies for success. Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple Music and iTunes Bozoma Saint John and Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue Elaine Welteroth also engaged in a compelling conversation about the importance of sisterhood when climbing the corporate ladder.

 


 

Meanwhile, Marcia Ann Gillispie opened up about her illustrious career working as the editor-in-chief of Essence and Ms. Magazine during a conversation with author Veronica Chambers in a panel moderated by Black Enterprise’s Caroline Clarke. In addition to talking about their personal definitions of success, they discussed their career transitions, the benefits of traveling abroad, family, and faith. Gillespie also spoke very candidly when asked about her biggest concerns for today’s society. “We’re not really ‘woke,’” she said, adding, “This world right now is a mess. This country is a mess.”

During the Eat, Play, Slay: Brunch, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism offered one lucky winner a free trip to the Bahamas.

Later in the afternoon, women took advantage of the opportunity to mix, mingle, and flaunt beautiful hats during the Suite Tea Garden Party.

(Attendees at the Suite Tea Garden Party)

 

(Attendees at the Suite Garden Tea Party)

 

Lastly, the summit wrapped up with a gospel concert, featuring powerful performances from Donnie McClurklin, Le’Andria Johnson, and Tasha Page Lockhart.

 

Enter the Black Enterprise Small Business Awards and Elevator Pitch Competition Now!

Small Business Awards

Attention Small Business Owners:

 

You have just a few more days to apply for BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2017 Small Business Awards, which will be held during BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Entrepreneurs Summit.

This year, BE’s Entrepreneur Summit is being held May 17-20,2017, in Houston. The deadline to apply for the awards is Monday, March 13, 2017. Winners will be announced at a special awards luncheon on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

 The award categories are as follows:

  • Techpreneur of the Year: This award is given to a fast-growing company that is delivering groundbreaking technology products or is disrupting the digital industry in some manner.
  • Family Business of the Year: This award is presented to a family-operated business that exemplifies the combined experience and expertise needed to excel in a key industry.
  • Franchise Owner of the Year: This award is presented to a franchisee for outstanding performance and overall contribution in enhancing the growth and development of the franchising industry.
  • Teenpreneur of the Year: This award recognizes entrepreneurs, ages 19 and  under, committed to the tradition of black business achievement.

Click here for details on the Small Business Awards.

 


 

On top of that, BE will also honor the entrepreneur offering the best elevator pitch for a  prize of $10,000! So, if you want to win cash for your pitch, then enter the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition now!

All you have to do is record a pitch that is two minutes or less, upload the video to YouTube, and then send us the link to beevents@blackenterprise.com. (Please review details about the contest before sending your submission.)

Ten semifinalists will be invited to attend the Summit, where they will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of a live audience. A panel of judges will decide the winner of the $10,000 grand prize.

Check out the video below, for more insight regarding the Elevator Pitch Competition:

 



 

Good luck!

Enter the Black Enterprise Small Business Awards and Elevator Pitch Competition Now!

Small Business Awards

Attention Small Business Owners:

 

You have just a few more days to apply for BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2017 Small Business Awards, which will be held during BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Entrepreneurs Summit.

This year, BE’s Entrepreneur Summit is being held May 17-20,2017, in Houston. The deadline to apply for the awards is Monday, March 13, 2017. Winners will be announced at a special awards luncheon on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

 The award categories are as follows:

  • Techpreneur of the Year: This award is given to a fast-growing company that is delivering groundbreaking technology products or is disrupting the digital industry in some manner.
  • Family Business of the Year: This award is presented to a family-operated business that exemplifies the combined experience and expertise needed to excel in a key industry.
  • Franchise Owner of the Year: This award is presented to a franchisee for outstanding performance and overall contribution in enhancing the growth and development of the franchising industry.
  • Teenpreneur of the Year: This award recognizes entrepreneurs, ages 19 and  under, committed to the tradition of black business achievement.

Click here for details on the Small Business Awards.

 


 

On top of that, BE will also honor the entrepreneur offering the best elevator pitch for a  prize of $10,000! So, if you want to win cash for your pitch, then enter the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition now!

All you have to do is record a pitch that is two minutes or less, upload the video to YouTube, and then send us the link to beevents@blackenterprise.com. (Please review details about the contest before sending your submission.)

Ten semifinalists will be invited to attend the Summit, where they will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of a live audience. A panel of judges will decide the winner of the $10,000 grand prize.

Check out the video below, for more insight regarding the Elevator Pitch Competition:

 



 

Good luck!

10 Reasons to Attend B.E.’s Entrepreneurs Summit in 2017

entrepreneurs summitentrepreneurs summit (Image: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages)

 

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneurs Summit, which will take place May 17–20, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Houston. The summit is one of the nation’s largest gatherings of entrepreneurs attended by more than 1,000 business leaders. This year’s summit highlights include the celebration and awards ceremony honoring the 45th anniversary of the BE 100s—the annual ranking of the nation’s largest black businesses with combined revenues over $40 billion.

Each year, small business owners and entrepreneurs from all over the country gather to take in advice from strategic, motivational, and leadership sessions designed to benefit emerging and established minority businesses. These four days will be spent under the advisement of experts and professionals who are looking to help you help yourself on your quest for entrepreneurial success. Here’s some of what you can expect…

Equity Date: There will be venture capitalists and angel investors at the summit looking to help you (yes, you!), gain funding to launch, grow, and scale your business. Chance for live on the spot pitches.

Billion Dollar Roundtable: Learn best practices and strategies from corporate brands that are spending at least $1 billion annually with minority entrepreneurs. Get your fair share of supplier contracts.

The Exchange—Make Your Connections: Don’t miss out on our job fair, #BuyBlack expo, and other business exhibitors that you can connect with. Gain insights from some of the country’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs as they share strategies and solutions.

Black Money Matters: Author and journalist Ramon Ray will lead a candid conversation with One United Bank CEO Teri Williams on the “bank black” movement that has swept the country thanks to national attention led by rapper Killer Mike.

BE Modern Man—Serving Black Men: Learn from Hammer & Nails Salon CEO Michael Elliott and other entrepreneurs about how you can concentrate a business on a male audience and deliver the right product to meet their needs.

Franchising Opportunities: Out of thousands of brand concepts, learn how to find the right franchise to match your passion, skills, and financial resources.

Elevator Pitch Competition: Our most anticipated and widely popular event at the BE Entrepreneurs Summit, where each year we award a $10,000 first place cash prize to a small business owner.

Pitch Lab: Shark Tank-like business pitch competitions are more popular than ever. Learn how to win your share of capital as well as gain valuable business relationships.

Certification Lab: Gain a greater understanding of the certification process in your pursuit of public/government contracting and procurement opportunities.

One-on-One Business Coaching: Get the exclusive attention your business so deserves.

Register now for the 2017 BE Entrepreneurs Summit, May 17–20, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Houston. Follow BE on social media @BlackEnterprise for Entrepreneur Summit news, highlights, and updates. Use hashtag #BESummit so you can stay in the loop.

Your Employer Should Invest In Your Future Starting Now

invest

When accepting meaningful employment, many employees jump into their positions head first, giving the job everything they have to offer and then some. This is great and exactly as things should be if you truly love what you do.

What shouldn’t be, however, is a working environment where you’re constantly powering into the job without being replenished in return. In order for any successful relationship to work, professional or otherwise, there must be a flow of give and take.

As you continue to invest in your job, be sure to stop and ask yourself exactly what it is your job is doing to invest in you.

What type of investment should your employer be making in your future?

The first step would be taking an active interest in your professional development. Besides, the more you know the more you bring to the table in your work.

How can your job invest in your professional development?

Your first stop should be the 12th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit. Each year BE hosts one of the most impactful summits for over 900 of the most powerful women executives, decision-makers, career climbers, and influencers around the world who are looking to connect while taking their careers to the ultimate level.

Your employer may sponsor your attendance at the 2017 Women of Power Summit, March 9–March 12, at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, where you will enhance your leadership skills, network with industry leaders, learn new strategies for staying ahead of corporate trends, leverage business opportunities, embrace the secret power of sisterhood, and simply find yourself in the right place and at the right time. Your employer should want this for you as much as you’d want it for yourself.

Where can you find out more?

Find out more about the 2017 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit and secure your seat at the table right now.

The Road to TechConneXt: Renee Forney, Cybersecurity Specialist

Forney

Renee Forney is a seasoned cybersecurity expert. SC Magazine, the leading journal for IT security professional named her “a woman of influence” in the cybersecurity industry.

Her reputation and skills have also earned her the trust of our nation. Currently the acting Deputy Chief Information Officer of Cybersecurity at the Department of Energy, Forney was also an executive director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

tcs-logoIn her current role at the DOE, she advises senior officials on integrating cybersecurity, risk management, and implementing enterprise information resources management.

She is also an advisor for the White House’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, the Defense Industrial Base Sector, which focuses on information safeguarding and critical infrastructure protection, and the Mission Executive Council.

Forney also has experience in the private sector. As Division Program Manager at Unisys, she collaborated with the Unisys Director of Enterprise Security Initiatives for the U.K., and she has assisted in developing a security framework model for Unisys Federal.

In an interview with SC Magazine, Forney noted that, with a shortage of qualified personnel, it’s a vibrant time for cyber professionals, and that she would like to see more enter government service. “Recruitment efforts are increasing at every level and assembling the most efficient job description is key,” she said.

Entry into the cybersecurity industry is particularly opportune for people of color. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), while speaking at an event hosted by the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMP) said, “There is currently a shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the United States, which is predicted to grow to 1.5M by 2019. There exists an opportunity to address both the cybersecurity workforce shortage and the underrepresentation of minority groups in the technology industry.”

Forney holds a Bachelor of Science from DeVry University, a Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University, as well as Certification Information System Security Professional (CISSP) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications.

She will be part of a riveting panel of other cybersecurity professionals who will speak about combating the latest threats in both public and private sectors, as well as pathways for people of color to careers in cybersecurity at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Tech Summit.

 

2016 Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge: That’s a Wrap!

Golf & tennis

It is officially a wrap on the 2016 Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge and as with each and every year, expectations were greatly exceeded.

CEOs, executives, influencers, and decision makers gathered at the PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL for a weekend of Lexus sponsored golf, tennis, games, networking, dancing and just plain ol’ fashion fun.

While some attendees enjoyed their Labor Day Weekend on the golf course, others opted for an eventful weekend of tennis, fitness, and relaxation.

As if the Challenge wasn’t already jammed packed with laughter and fun, attendees also enjoyed a Prudential sponsored Love & Money Game Show, hosted by actor Flex Alexander and Black Enterprise SVP/Executive Editor-at-Large, Alfred Edmond, where couples found out how well they knew their honey when it came to money, teams brought their heads together for a friendly game of Framily (Friends and Family) Feud, kitchen masters put their skills to the test at a Master Waffle Chef Challenge, with special guest judge, Chef Ron Durprat of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, and it was hysterical war time, as usual, with an intense Battle of the Sexes, hosted by comedian Chris Spencer. To top it all off, there was also an entertaining Lip Sync Challenge where attendees performed their hearts out to compete for the win.

Amidst all of the fun, attendees engaged in a powerful, solutions-oriented panel discussion at the BE Modern Man Luncheon, hosted by AT&T, where actor Rotimi from Starz hit television series, Power, Miami Commissioner, Keon Hardemon, and founder of The Shadow League, former CEO of Revolt, Keith Clinkscales, and facilitator, BE’s Alfred Edmond, exchanged strategies to overcome injustice and change the narrative of men of color in today’s society.

Active days were followed by entertaining nights as attendees lived the luau life at a Prudential sponsored evening featuring hula dancers, Hawaiian shirts, hula skirts, and special guest DJ, MC Lyte, Gangster of Comedy, Capone, entertained at an AT&T sponsored Havana After Dark evening infused with Cuban spice, and Stephanie Mills blew attendees away at an all-white Summertime Send-off, hosted by FedEx Express.

A whirlwind weekend, to say the least. It’s already time to get excited for next year’s Golf & Tennis Challenge. Get a jump start at planning for an epic 2017 Labor Day Weekend by registering now.

For highlights of this year’s challenge, check out all the weekend’s happenings on social media @BlackEnterprise #BEGT.

Tech Innovator of the Week: Julian Waits, President and CEO, PivotPoint Risk Analytics

Julian Waits

Julian Waits has over three decades of experience in technology and now sits at the helm of PivotPoint Risk Analytics—a leading provider of cyber risk analytics.

Risk analytics are quantitative measurements to assess business threats, including cyber security risk and data theft—both of which can lead to significant financial loss.

tcs-logoPivotPoint creates a solution, CyVaR, which calculates a company’s projected annual loss due to cyber attacks using value-at-risk (VaR) modeling. Value-at-Risk is a statistical technique used to measure and quantify the level of financial risk within a firm or investment portfolio over a specific time frame.

Recently, at this year’s security conference, Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, PivotPoint was selected as “Gazelle Champion” by a panel of leading chief information security officers at The ISE Lions’ Den & Jungle Lounge, a security competition hosted by T.E.N.

“T.E.N.’s executive leadership programs and its nationally acclaimed Information Security Executive (ISE) events have been instrumental in helping security executives become more effective in their roles, advance their careers, and receive the recognition they deserve,” said Waits after the recognition. “We are extremely proud to have been named Champion by T.E.N. from among a field of truly exceptional young security companies,” he said.

Waits’ technology career began in software development, field systems, and network engineering. He eventually moved into several executive positions at a number of tech companies, including GFI Software and ThreatTrack Security Inc.

In addition to leading PivotPoint, Waits serves as an advisory board member of the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and also is on the advisory board of the National Cybersecurity STEM Education (NICE).

Julian Waits will be in attendance at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Technology Conference, lending his vast experience, knowledge, and insight to the event.

Register for Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Technology Summit: The Intersection of Innovation and Opportunity being held on October 10-11, 2016 at the San Francisco Marriott Waterfront Hotel!

The Road to TechConneXt: Stewart Butterfield, CEO, Slack

Slack

Perhaps no technological advancement has contributed more to the decline of email, changing the way we collaborate and communicate at work, than Slack.

tcs-logoSlack CEO Stewart Butterfield is one of the co-founders. Since its launch in 2013, Slack boasts over a million active daily users. The company raised $539.95 million in nine rounds from 26 investors.

Prior to Slack, Butterfield co-founded and led Flickr—the image and video hosting website—from 2003 through its 2005 acquisition by Yahoo!

Time magazine named Butterfield one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and he has been ranked among Business Week‘s “Top 50 Leaders.” Butterfield was also recognized as the 2015 Technology Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, and has been featured on Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment List.”

Despite phenomenal success, Slack is committed to making the world more equitable. The company has one of the highest percentages of African American engineers among Silicon Valley companies, at seven percent. In addition, over 10% of its workforce is part of the LGBTQ community, and 45% of its managers are women.

Slack continues to explore how to further diversity. From the company’s blog post, “All kinds of people should be able to be successful at Slack.”

“While much focus has been on the pipeline, we understand that increasing the diversity of applicants and new hires will not result in any significant change, if people from underrepresented groups cannot thrive at the company. Workplace policies that foster inclusion are equally important.”

Slack also contributes to various organizations focused on diversifying the pipeline, such as Hack the Hood and Code2040.

This is a company that doesn’t just talk the diversity talk—it really walks the walk.

Stewart Butterfield will take part in what is sure to be a fascinating one-on-one keynote at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt tech summit.

Register for Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Technology Summit: The Intersection of Innovation and Opportunity, held October 10-11, 2016 at the San Francisco Marriott Waterfront Hotel!