WCOE's 2017 Women Build America Annual Leadership Conference was held in Washington, D.C. on April 2–4, 2017. The three-day Conference started with High Tea Celebration on Sunday afternoon followed by dine-arounds, Monday speakers and panelists, Monday night's Awards Gala, and culminated with the Legislative Day and lunch at the Willard Hotel.
Sunday High Tea – Patrick Jephson, Unlock Your Hidden Strengths
Left to right: Lee Cunningham, Danette Beck, Patrick Jephson, Caryn Boisen, and Theresa Kern
Patrick Jephson, former Chief of Staff to HRH The Princess of Wales, shared how Princess Diana expressed her vision and direction in positive ways under the tough scrutiny of the Royal Family. Mr. Jephson also described ways to build a personal brand using real life examples from his days with Princess Diana.
Monday Breakfast – Small Business Briefing
Vivian Ling, Staff Attorney, House Small Business Committee
Vivian Ling led a lively, interactive discussion where Conference attendees provided input about current laws and regulations affecting small businesses. Ms. Ling shared legislative changes currently being considered by the members of the House Small Business Committee. She advised attendees to reach out to their Congressmen, trade associations, and industry representatives to express their views and concerns.
Monday Morning Session I – Improv(e) Your Networking
Kevin Reome, Work Play Improv
Left to right: Kevin Reome, Danette Beck, Brenda Radmacher, Cori MacCallum
Improvisation instructor Kevin Reome energized Conference attendees with several exercises to improve their networking skills. He also discussed the importance of being present and interested in conversation.
Monday Morning Session II – Find Your Guru: The Value of Trusted Advisors
Stephanie Burns, Turner Construction; Mary Kay Lanzillotta, Hartman-Cox Architects; Jennifer Lee, Travelers; and Christi Reimer, AGC
The panelists provided advice on how to hone one's craft by getting involved in trade organizations such as WCOE and having one's own advisory panel. They encouraged attendees to create a plan that can guide them to the person who can teach desired skills and provide feedback. The panelists shared efforts they have made in their companies including Turner's internal resource group and a variety of diversity programs at Travelers.
Luncheon Speaker – National Women's History Museum
Joan Bradley Wages
Joan Bradley Wages provided inspirational words about how our foremothers played an important role in the history of America and the importance of inspiring dreams and opportunities for young girls. Ms. Wages also announced that a bill was recently introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 19) to establish a women's history museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Keynote Luncheon Speaker – The Power and Importance of Collaborative Strength
Jenni Prisk, Prisk Communications
Sophia Cavalli and Jenni Prisk
Stressing the importance of communication, Jenni Prisk spoke about how to present oneself in a collaborative environment as a strong and confident participant. She encouraged attendees to be the example that others look up to and to own one's mistakes as much as one's successes.
Monday Afternoon Session I – The Power to Breakthrough: Pursuing Passions Despite Social Norms
Tracy Young, PlanGrid
PlanGrid Leadership Team and Lee Cunningham
Tracy Young, co-founder of PlanGrid, encouraged attendees to acknowledge gender bias, pursue their passions despite social norms, and be a good example for the next generation. She also shared how teams with more women members outperform teams with more men because women have better collaborative skills.
Monday Afternoon Session II – Innovative Solutions for Small Local Businesses
Jamie Rhee, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Chicago
Ms. Rhee shared information and best practices for successfully competing for public construction contracts including researching and understanding compliance, certification requirements, and mentorship and incentive programs available. She also encouraged attendees to attend workshops offered by public agencies.
Monday Afternoon Session III – Leverage Your Worth: The Power of Negotiating Effectively
Brenda Radmacher, Wood Smith Henning & Berman and WCOE Chapter President
Brenda Radmacher provided attendees with tools for successful negotiating. Her presentation included how to overcome the fear of negotiating, the steps of the negotiating process, and how to prepare for the process.
Tuesday Luncheon – New Administration Briefing: What's in Store for 2017 and Beyond
Dana Thompson, SMACNA
Dana Thompson provided insights regarding the new Administration. Attendees heard about opportunities for construction contractors, including a number of promises to address the Nation's infrastructure needs. Attendees also learned about some of the challenges facing the construction industry, particularly the union segment of the industry.