3 Amazing Keynote Speakers at the 'Women Leaders Summit'

Yao Huang, Christine Comaford, Francis Hesselbein, Carole Hyatt and Gabriella SternLaura Greb reviews the recent Women Leaders Summit, which she attended on behalf of The NextWomen, and shares her takeaways from the inspirational keynote speakers.

The Hatchery was founded in 1997 with the idea that all technology companies should have access to business experts and innovative information. Based in New York, Yao-Hui Huang founded the venture collaboration organization with an international reach, bringing together entrepreneurs and investors through various resources, advisors, funding and building communities.

At the end of June, The Hatchery held an event in New York, the “Women’s Leaders Summit – Empowering Women Forward.” Yao Hui-Huang created the Summit “Because people just don't know. Not enough of them. The statistics are deafening, and we'd like to shout a bit louder so it’s heard and more so, have something done together.

Things are not changing fast enough and frankly its getting worse.”

She also wants to see more women in senior positions, saying she wants to, “move the needle just a little bit more with seeing women higher ranked in the work force.

The more education a woman has, the greater the wage disparity.

The Women Leaders Summit saw three incredible women leaders speaking about their experiences of getting to where they are today. The keynote conversation with Francis Hesselbein, Christine Comaford and Carole Hyatt was lead by the Deputy Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Gabrilla Stern. She said one message that resonated with her was when Frances spoke about the importance of staying on task and focusing on one’s mission.

Francis Hesselbein was asked by an entrepreneur, “Where do you get your energy?” she replied, “From your generation.”

Ms. Hesselbein is one of the most well respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development. I had the pleasure of sitting with and meeting all three speakers prior to the event and had a rare opportunity to ask, “What feeds your soul? What is your purpose?” Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO of the Trances Hellselbein Leadership Institute and former CEO of the Girls Scouts of the U.S.A, replied, “…to help each girl reach her own high potential, we’re not a category, we’re a leader. Gender does not define who we are and how we do it.”

“If you’re worried about failure, you have closed the door.” – Carole Hyatt

From left to right: Dr. Hamid Al Bayati, Laura Greb, Carole Hyatt, Francis Hesselbein, Gabriella Stern, Christine Comaford, Cecelia Bittner, Theresa BerenatoChristine Comaford helps leaders navigate growth and change. She’s a coach, consulting and strategizing to help generate millions in new revenue and value for her clients. In the past, she served as a board director or advisor to thirty-six startups and invested in over two hundred startups including Google. Christine’s book SmartTribe advises how to become a stronger leader and “move out of a critter state into a smart state”.

During our meeting and after discussing what the workforce was like years ago, Christine shared a story that most women have encountered. Christine worked in a male dominated industry as a coder for Microsoft. As a punctual person, she purposefully, “Walked into a meeting ten minutes late so the group could share their (male) jokes.”

Christine believes “all leaders need to manage their emotional state – “fail forward” – as she states it.

When Best Selling Author, international motivator speaker and expert on career development and women’s corporate programing, Carole Hyatt, was asked, “What was it like doing business in the 1960’s?” She responded that back then she was asked all sorts of questions like, “What are you trying to prove?” When she was twenty-three, her father couldn’t understand why she wasn’t married, as she was expected to have a husband, a family and watch over the household duties. When Carole was asked, “What was the hardest moment for you to move forward with your business?” She said, “Going to get an American Express card.”

Carole had to have her younger brother apply for a card so she could start her business. In the 1960s, “Women were not allowed to receive credit cards.”

Only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women

Women’s Leaders Summit will host a massive event September in Bryant Park, New York, to draw awareness of this movement. Yao says “It's about collaboration -- pulling people, organizations, and corporations together to unite in voice and support. It's not about us, its about all of us. We want to support the great organizations that are helping create more women leaders into positions of influence. We ask every organization and individual to make a pledge . We just want to move the needle. I want to spark movement and a wave in the still pond of leadership.”

“Advancing to the next stage will only be possible when we unleash the power of women.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Laura Greb lives in New York and founded Artmeme, investing time in emerging to mid-career creative entrepreneurs to help develop and market their professional brand effectively in order to connect with their target audience. She also provides business resources and workshops. Along with the above, she meets, interviews and writes about an array of entrepreneurs, founders, mentors and investors. She also covers art and tech conferences, pitch competitions and startup news for Artmeme and consults entrepreneurs for Rising Tide Capital.

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