Highlights of International Women's Day March 8, 2023 Celebration

by Ramya Durga Krishnaganth

It's all in Simplicity and Authenticity

What a gift to be in the company of hundreds of women, having small and big talks, and hearing inspirational stories from women leaders and pioneers in society! Nothing can be more inspiring and celebrating for me as a woman on International Women's Day, which for sure is for many other women there as well. A big thank you to FWSF, the Wharton School and Eisner Amper for sponsoring this event!

Is Transformational Leadership a Quantum Leap?

Cloey delivering keynote at IWD event

In the Keynote Speech Clothilde "Cloey" V. Hewlett, Commissioner for the California Department of Finance Protection & Innovation, shared her humble beginnings with 'hopes in heart and determination to succeed.' In every step from Public Policy to Commissioner Today, she had many situations to ask, “Why Me?." Each "Why me?" gave a different answer, from pointing to her strength as a 'Master of finding a solution during the crisis,' to her deep desire to pay it forward and get to the stage of “Why Not Me?" when there is an opportunity to inspire a hopeful future to others.

Her authentic story made it evident that transformational leadership is not a quantum leap. It is about finding your strength and using that to change one life at a time, and we all can be a catalyst and Transformational Leaders!

With an over-emphasis on “Transformation" in the corporate world from process to digital, Cloey Hewlett's enlightening insights on the simplicity of Transformational Leadership was such an AHA moment for me. I am sure it was for many as well!

Is a Little Idea Too Small to Ignore?

Akeisha Johnson leads breakout session

How many times have you ignored your hunch or idea as small or insignificant? The Session by Akeisha Johnson, Business Leadership Coach, An Inspired Story Coaching, explained how her Little Idea transformed her passion into her business and touched many lives in a positive way. Her exercise on taking a few simple ideas from 'what you want to do,' like cooking healthy meals for the family, 'identifying the passion' in it to connect and serve others, and 'creating an accountability plan' to connect with people in the room who expressed interest in healthy & affordable home meals.

What a simple way to do what you are passionate about and transform the workplace from just for living to a place to go to make an impact!

Now my little ideas are too valuable to ignore!

Can You Put Yourself in a 'Beginner' Mindset?

Kristi hosts breakout session

How often have we stopped ourselves from doing something as small as doing an act of nice for ourselves for fear of being judged by family, coworkers, and neighbors?

Kristi Royse, founder and CEO of KLR Consulting, in her session highlighted that FEAR is the biggest barrier in moving from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth mindset. If we can adopt the simple mind of a three-year-old where there is no judgment, no filters, and no fears, but filled only with curiosity and courage, we can become resilient when facing setbacks.

I understand more of my three-year-old daughter now and trying to be more open-minded like her!

Do You Ask for Feedback?

Panel at IWD event

The day was well rounded up with a panel discussion on the theme of the day, “Success Stories in Finding Passion in Work and in Life,” hosted by FWSF 2022 President, Melissa Maquilan Radic. We heard the success stories, which were sometimes bumpy, of panelists Kathie Chao (Managing Director, Digital Services for Charles Schwab), Tricia Shaw (Executive Director, Technology M&A, Morgan Stanley) and Rey Valle (HR Business Partner/Talent Development Program Manager at Federal Reserve Financial Services).

The panelists, each in their own way, advanced in their careers to get to the point of doing what they are passionate about, be it either moving the right parts to get things done or problem-solving by fearlessly “asking for feedback” from others to know ‘Where do I stand.’ People who care about you give feedback, but sometimes you need to help them to give you that feedback. Again, success is taking what works for you and discarding the rest.

To sum up…

FWSF Panel Moderator Melissa Maquillan Radic with attendee

In the overarching theme of “Finding Passion in Work and in Life,” the message that came out strong for me in all sessions and interactions with wonderful ladies and organizers is that ‘integrating passion with work is all simple and will be much simpler if it comes from your authentic self.’

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