• AWESOME Insights

Executives and entrepreneurs discuss lessons learned


A panel of accomplished C-Suite leaders talked at the AWESOME Symposium on May 6-7, 2015 about how they achieved success in fields other than supply chain. Some topics they addressed included seizing opportunities, developing composure and confidence, and using a sense of humor in business situations.

Moderator of the discussion Susan Packard (at left in photo), co-Founder of Scripps Network, former COO of HGTV, and author of New Rules of the Games, set the stage for the discussion by offering selected insights from her book on “10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.” Read more about Packard’s observations.

Members of the C-Suite panel (left to right) were Carolee Friedlander, CEO, AccessCircles, and Founder and former President and CEO, Carolee Designs, Inc.; Teresa Weintraub, President and CEO, Fiduciary Trust International of the South; and Nina McLemore, Founder and CEO, Nina McLemore, LLC.

All three panel members talked about their career as a journey with interesting twists based on their interests and passions. Friedlander began her career designing jewelry and went on to create an accessories empire. Weintraub started as an attorney with Exxon Corporation, and spent years in development with the University of Miami before advancing to her current role in banking. McLemore used her MBA and private equity experience to turn her life-long interest in making clothing into a highly-successful business apparel collection that is worn by women leaders around the world.

They agreed that they had encountered situations requiring them to be creative and approach that situation with new ideas. In some cases that involved learning a new skill, taking on a new venture, stepping into a new role – even if they weren’t sure what the exact outcome would be.

Another shared experience was needing to work with a large corporate entity or a group of mostly men and having to muster up inner strength and confidence. Whether it’s achieving a professional presence, demonstrating emotional maturity and composure, or developing a clear communication style, a woman in that position needs to be prepared.

One of the panelists spoke about what she learned in making business presentations to men. “I had to learn not to be emotional, speak as few words as possible, speak in as many numbers as possible and use humor because humor releases the tension. So all the successful women I know in businesses and corporations have a very good sense of humor and I think that’s a critical skill used wisely and appropriately.”

Read more Words of Wisdom from the C-Suite panel

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