Breakthrough. This was the theme of the 2018 Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Summit that took place on Thursday, April 26, at the Colorado Westin Westminster. The event was designed to inspire through stories of real women, accomplishing real things, in our world. The conference was attended by over 900 mostly women business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, and students.
Break through what, you might ask? Norms, ceilings, molds – anything and everything getting in the way of women moving ahead and into leadership positions in their life and work. Speakers and panelists opened up about their own personal and professional breakthroughs. The morning panel with Katica Roy, CEO and co-founder of Denver-based Pipeline Equity, was a highlight for Jenny Mahoney, business intelligence developer at Spectra Logic. “I was very happy to hear Katica comment on what I consider the ‘missing link’ in most efforts around gender equity: support of men in traditionally female roles,” says Mahoney. Pipeline leverages artificial intelligence to help businesses operationalize gender equity and drive economic gains. Katica shared data points and insights validating the positive correlation between gender equity and revenue performance and dispelling the myth that women leave work because of motherhood.
At the Spectra table, Jill Hohl, Katie Hannon, Laurel Ditson, Susan Merriman, Debbie McCrary, Nancy Doughty, Betsy Doughty, Nicolle Gallegos, and Ponemany Yang pay close attention to the morning panel at WILD VI. Katie, Susan, Betsy, and Sherri Leopard (not pictured) are members of the Leeds School Women’s Council.
Lunch speaker Danielle Dannenberg struck a chord with Spectra’s senior talent advisor, Emily Day. “You do not have to settle in life and it takes courage to find your opportunity. I think it is important for all of us to get out of our comfort zone and live in the ‘now’ instead of the ‘when’,” says Emily. Danielle, an entrepreneur and MBA candidate at CU Boulder, spoke about finding the courage to found her company, WildeGuide, and the pivotal role her mother’s life and passing played in helping her develop the ‘now’ mentality, encouraging attendees to stop waiting and live with intention.
And while the conference had an incredible line-up of powerful women speaking throughout the day, it was also about networking, connecting successful people in the community to students, new professionals, and each other, and engaging in conversation to forge a brighter future for women in business and leadership. “I loved the diversity of speakers – each one had wisdom we could all utilize! The audience does not share the same background or experiences, I was delighted to see a wide spectrum of representation!” says Laura Nolan, global distribution manager at Spectra Logic.
Betsy Doughty, VP of corporate marketing at Spectra and Women’s Council Board Member, reflects: “I left WILD feeling inspired, connected, and empowered. They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and that philosophy of surrounding yourself with amazing people is why this day was so special. Our Spectra family truly has some of the best and brightest and the opportunity to attend this event with them was incredible.”
The WILD Summit is the signature event of the CU Boulder’s Leeds School Women’s Council, a network of successful business leaders who share their expertise and encouragement with CU Leeds students in order to positively impact the trajectory of tomorrow’s leaders. A critical asset in the school’s educational mission, the Women’s Council members speak in classrooms, mentor students, connect with prospective students, and participate in important leadership roles to help shape the overall strategy of the Leeds School of Business. These remarkable women were also the inspiring force behind the End the Gap Initiative, a program launched in February 2017 to create gender parity across all CU business programs by the year 2020.