2019 Women’s Leadership Conference – The Power of Perseverance

Check out these beautiful photos from the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference

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Eight hours of inspiration! That’s how many of the attendees describe the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference as they left the beautiful Live! Hotel yesterday.
After a warm welcome from Chamber President Leonardo McClarty, the room turned their attention to a video playing on screens on each wall. Hundreds of sets of eyes watched the story of Rayna DuBose. She’s a Columbia native, who was on a full-ride basketball scholarship at Virginia Tech, playing in her first season, when a viral meningitis infection put her into a coma, and ultimately led to her hands and feet being amputated. DuBose took the stage to a huge round of applause, in prosthetics, including stilettos. Her message was one of perseverance and positivity and left us all feeling inspired.
The first session of the day, moderated by Lisa Anderson, included panelists Towanda R. Livingston, Senior Director of Philadelphia’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Denise Shelton and Shawn Nance, CEO and Founder of Community Bridge Incorporated, and Sharon Brackett, President and CEO of Tiresias Technologies. All four women shared incredible stories about their background that exemplified the topic, ‘Finding Peace During the Storm.’ A few of the conference’s most memorable lines came out of this session, including “you can ask any hard question, but expect a hard answer,” and “it’s more important that an idea happen than for it to be mine.”
The next session, moderated by Anna Fleeman Elhini, featured two powerful and history making panelists in Howard County’s first female Chief of Police, Lisa Myers, and Howard County’s first female Chief of Fire and Emergency Services, Christine Uhlhorn. The theme of their session was ‘Determining When Patience is a Virtue, and When It Is Not.” Myers and Uhlhorn decided to do a joint presentation, and talked frequently about how important it has been to each of them to have the other to call on, as both are navigating the task of taking on these incredibly powerful positions at the top, while being the first woman to hold the positions. Both Chiefs had incredible advice to share, but one line in particular that stuck out, was one of Chief Uhlhorn’s closing lines, “I don’t want the women in the department today to feel like they have to be one of the guys. I want them to be themselves!”
The last session of the day, moderated by Kim Watters, took on the topic of “Igniting and Sustaining Purpose and Passion.” Panelists including Suzanne Delica, Owner of Clothes Mentor – Columbia, MaryBeth Hyland, Founder of SparkVision and Jeanne Martin, Owner of JMar Enterprises, talked about everything from the power of values when trying to find your purpose, to their views on social media. Delica illustrated many of the journeys taken by all three panelists, by explaining that she found her path as an entrepreneur by saying, “I did an audit. I asked myself if I was making decisions based on my core values.”

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