Women in Consumer Electronics (CE) have reported that "Power Your Career in Consumer Electronics," the organization's inaugural Career Enhancement Forum, was a success.
The full-day program — held June 26 at the Rubin Museum of Art — was packed with informational sessions, workshops, and discussions led by high-level executives from across the CE industry and focused on empowering, educating, and helping women to build their industry networks.
The event's keynote speaker was Cathie Black, former chairwoman and president of Hearst Magazines, and New York Times bestselling author of "Basic Black: The Essential Guide to Getting Ahead at Work (And in Life)." Her advice to attendees was to be brave and to take risks. Black also moderated the roundtable discussion "Insights on Success — An Exploration on Rising to the Top," which featured Sandra Benedetto, director of field engineering at THX Ltd.; Karen Chupka, senior vice president of events and conferences at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); Andrea Smith, channel editor at Mashable Lifestyle; and Kristine Welker, vice president and chief revenue officer at Hearst Digital Media.
"Intrigue Anyone in Anything ... in 60 Seconds!" was led by "ideapreneur" Sam Horn, who stressed that the job of any woman with an idea is to move that idea forward and crystallize it. She shared her techniques for creating a Unique Strategic Positioning (USP) that makes a person one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many. Following this vibrant session, Joshua Henderson, director of programming at Springboard Enterprises, shared a host of apps designed to streamline business and life in the "Apps to Make Your Life Easier!" session.
Maureen Jenson, editor-in-chief of the Consumer Technology Publishing Group, moderated "Your Network ... How to Use It Effectively!" Sharing their tips and techniques for getting involved and getting ahead were panelists Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprises; Jamie Riley, senior director of marketing and public relations at the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA); Ellen Savage, director of member programs at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); and Melissa Taggart, senior vice president of education and certification at InfoComm International. The panel emphasized that networking is work that requires a commitment and specific goals with tangible results.
The session "Why Best Buy is Investing in its Female Employees," moderated by Tricia Nystrom, senior merchant, audio, Best Buy, and featuring Angela Chambliss, director, women's leadership forum (WOLF) corporate capabilities at Best Buy, provided numerous examples of the successful WOLF program. During this session, Nystrom emphasized a fact earlier mentioned by Benedetto — women are the market for consumer electronics.
Barbara B. Roberts followed up in a closing keynote sponsored by Best Buy and Magnolia. "Closing Notes From an Everyday Revolutionary!" highlighted the key messages of the "Power Your Career in Consumer Electronics" Forum and shared Roberts' experience not only as a former top Wall Street executive and successful entrepreneur, but also as current director of programs for the Lang Entrepreneurship Center of the Columbia Business School, Women Presidents Organization (WPO), and Tiger21. Roberts connected with attendees with anecdotes about her life-long passion and work toward helping women secure their dreams and fair share of the political and economic pie. She also reminded the group that "there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
"If women are to excel in corporate and entrepreneurial ventures, we must seek out opportunity and take ownership of our career paths," said Carol Campbell, founder of Women in CE. "Our incredible lineup of speakers and panelists really spoke to this topic in a way that resonated with our group. It was such a wonderful event, and I'm so grateful to everyone involved for making it a success."