Last week we attended an event called “Women, Power & Leadership.” Held at the University of Tennessee’s Baker Center for Public Policy, the event was a panel discussion and gathering of minds of some of our area’s power female movers and shakers, as well as some national people of interest, including former New Jersey Governor and EPA director Christine Todd Whitman. Open to women only, the event sold out and we’d be willing to bet there are other ladies who didn’t get to attend. This post is a summary of what was said, as well as an open letter of thanks to these amazing women who shared insight, wisdom and advice gleaned from their prestigious careers.
To Gov. Christine Todd Whitman: Thank you for saying it’s ok to admit when you don’t know everything. You told event attendees to be willing to step up and take a chance and learn as we go, taking on new challenges. Your statement “power without passion is nothing” really resonated with us. Also, we loved what you said about how titles don’t bring us power, but it’s what we do with them that matters. You were inspiring and we appreciate everything you have done and are doing for women everywhere.
To Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero: Thank you for being the first woman mayor of our fair city. In your part of the panel talk, you advised us to toughen up and be willing to take criticism. We think this is wise advice! You also warned young women to be careful of their social media presence (we have a great post coming up on this very subject!). You stressed the importance of networking, which we also value a great deal.
To Mintha Roach, CEO of the Knoxville Utilities Board: Your advice to encourage each other hit home with us. We believe in the power of women and we appreciate your belief in the value of being leaders for each other. Thanks for being KUB’s first female CEO, even if it was (in your words) an accident.
To Margie Nichols, Vice Chancellor for Communications at the University of Tennessee: Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. Your practical advice of “be flexible and always be willing to do what it takes to get the job done” will serve attendees well. We agree with you that humility is our biggest asset as well as that it’s our job as women to give each other confidence when we need it.
Some of the other words of wisdom came from the following folks:
Sharon Miller Pryse – President, The Trust Company
“Admit you don’t know the answer. Be engaged and involved in a thoughtful manner.”
Sarah Gardial – Vice Provost, University of Tennessee
“Choose to be at the table where important decisions are being made. Be fearless about tapping into networks of women and never underestimate the power of mentorship.”
Rita Geier – attorney and retired special assistant to the UT Chancellor
“Set a standard of excellence for yourself. Cultivate your core skills and have fellowship with others.”
We appreciate the leaders who came together for this event and we appreciate them sharing a bit of their knowledge with our community. If there’s ever anything we can do to return the favor, please let us know!
FletcherPR is a national communications firm that specializes in reaching women through the power of media. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN with staff in Nashville & Los Angeles, we are a full-service agency providing strategic public relations, social media and marketing communications services to our clients throughout the U.S.