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November 20, 2008

In Honor of Women


We were on hand yesterday for ASAE's  "In Honor of Women" education program and awards luncheon held at the Crystal City Marriott in Alexandria. More than 200 women brought came to hear and share ideas for improving associations and workplace culture.


Breakout sessions ranged from "Real Live Mentoring" to "Conflict and Collaboration for Mutual Advantage."


One of Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women, Carlson, Inc.'s CEO Marilyn Carlson Nelson, center, with the Greater Washington Network's Lori Derkay and philanthropist Wayne Smith. Marilyn's morning keynote inspired attendees with an energetic and at times tearful journey, starting when she was turned on to join her father's business after someone told her, "Business creates jobs, and jobs are the greatest philanthropy there is." Now she says, "as a woman, we are more aware of how life comes flowing in over the Blackberry."  As head of travel and marketing giant Carlson's $31.4 B gross sales and 188,000 employees worldwide, she's useda merit-based advancement program that's led to women in 49% of management positions, and 40% of top executive positions. She also encourages "breakthrough teams" where members care as much about each other's success as their own.


Breakout speakers: HLF Consulting's Harriet Fader, Aeolus Coaching and Leadership Training's Arty Coppes and Worksite Insights' Judy Belmont. Judy, who'll be giving the keynote at the Potomac Chapter of Meeting Professionals International 2008 meeting Dec. 8-9, says the top reason people fail at their jobs is poor communication, not lack of technical skills. To improve communication, she recommends using "I" statements instead of "you" statements, and to avoid "should" statements that build expectations and judgments about colleagues that may lead to disappointment. Harriet's session on transitioning stressed staying true to yourself. She says you really have to want and feel qualified for that next career move, and she recommends reading "What Color is Your Parachute" to think about how to apply skills in jobs you might not have considered.


Lori with the 2008 Women Who Advance Excellence in Associations Honorees: Human Resource Certification Institute's Mary Power, Tourisme Montreal's Joan Cutlip-Spivey, and Fox 5's Shawn Yancy. Expectant Mom and First Lady of DC, Michelle Fenty, was also honored, but was on bed-rest yesterday. Mary says her career in tourism and associations has taught her that in management, "If you believe in people and give them credit, they'll give you 110%."


Shawn used her few minutes at the podium to highlight the important role of mentors for young women. Her mentor, Barbara Boyd, Indianapolis' first black broadcast journalist whom she met when she was in junior high school continues to inspire her at age 79 through her community activism.


GAMA International's Kathryn Kellam, Laureen Rowland, Bonnie Godsman, Stacey Williams and Anne-Marie Burton celebrate women with a day away from the office. Anne-Marie, a native of Kenya, says she came to yesterday's event to "embrace the success of other women." Kathryn says GAMA is reaching out more these days to its members (who are in financial services) to be "visibly supportive." With members like AIG struggling, Kathryn says members are thankful that it's "paying attention," even through simple phone calls.

Do you know women making a difference in the Association world? Email Association Editor Abraham Mahshie at:

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