Emphasizing personal and organizational responsibility in career development was the focus at the 2016 Multicultural Women's National Conference, led by Working Mother Media. The annual event, which took place from July 11 to 12, at the New York Marriott Marquis, gave women tools for success and advancement in the workplace through innovative workshops, inspiring speeches and insightful executive coaching.
More than 500 people from some of the nation's biggest employers attended, but in case you weren't able to make it, here are some highlights from this year's conference:
Kicking things of was a fun fashion show, sponsored by Cisco, New York Life, Sodexo and Unilever, designed to encourage women of color to use fashion as a way to express their authentic selves at work.
Then, the work began, with participants breaking up into same race (and later, cross-race) groups to discuss the strengths they want to leverage in the workplace. Following the breakouts, all groups shared their findings to the full conference, prompting deeper conversations as the event progressed.
Participants also had the opportunity to attend one of four women's organizational meetings later in the afternoon: Black Women of Influence, which discussed self-awareness, authenticity and vulnerability at the workplace, Madrinas, focused on retaining and promoting Latina talent and leadership, National Association for Female Executives, which taught the importance of bragging as self-promotion, and the Asian Women Leadership Network, focused on how to rise above at work.
At the Day 1 luncheon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheryl WuDunn, author of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, received the Working Mother Annual Legacy Award for her contribution to the advancement of women and spoke passionately about her investigations into the often violent struggles faced by women and girls around the world.
Participants began their day learning about ways men are supporting multicultural women in the workplace during the always-popular Men as Allies Panel, featuring Mike Clementi, Vice President of Human Resources at Unilever; Ben Hasan, Chief Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Walmart; and Steve Mason, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cardinal Health and moderated by Chris Brassell, Director, US Office of Inclusion & Talent Management at PwC.
At the Best Companies for Multicultural Women awards ceremony, Vice President and General Manager of Working Mother Media Subha V. Barry shared trends from the 2016 winners, including the fact that multicultural women at the Best Companies represent 17 percent of the top fifth of earners, which is quadruple their representation from last year (4 percent). Women also hold 28% of the board of directors seats at the Best Companies—the highest proportion attained over the past eight years of the initiative.
During lunch, the winners of the 2016 25 Best Companies for Multicultural Women accepted their awards. Women from the top five companies—Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Prudential Financial and Verizon—spoke about what receiving the award meant to them and their companies.
In the afternoon, Maria Hinojosa, founder of the Futuro Media Group and anchor and executive producer of Latino USA, delivered a hilarious but heartfelt keynote about her Latina heritage, how it affected her idea of her career choices, and why it's so important to empower multicultural young women.
During the Leadership StoryTalks: Stand Out Stories of Triumph Session, Dr. Crystal Moore, Staff Pathologist at VA Medical Hospital shared a personal story about finding her strength when she felt she had none during a life-or-death situation.
On both days, participants were treated to complimentary head shots by Canon and complimentary makeup touch-ups from MAC.
Interested in attending next year's conference or know that your company could be a 2017 Best Company for Multicultural Women? Apply today [here]!(http://www.workingmother.com/best-companies)