SIM Women Executive Leadership Forum 2016


I attended the Society for Information Management (SIM) Women’s Executive Leadership  Forum, which was held here in Chicago, IL on May 5, 2016.   I was attending, although I am not a woman or a member of SIM, because I was representing our Project Management Institute (PMI) Chicagoland Chapter with a sponsor booth at the event.   It was important that the chapter support what the SIM Women group are doing, but there’s another ulterior motive.   I want to report on what they are doing so that our PMI Chicagoland chapter can also empower OUR women executives while encouraging the next generation of women to enter the field.    So besides networking during breaks, I was busy writing notes during the speaker sessions!

Some of the highlights of the conference were

  • Keynote speaker:   Franz Diana, talking on “Re-Imagining the Future:  A Journy Through the Looking Glass” talking about future trends in information technology in the next 20 years.
  • Keynote speaker:  Suzanne Bates, talking on “One Size Does Not Fit All”:  the various dimensions and elements that go into “Executive Presence.”
  • Panel discussion:   Authenticity/Success:  Finding Your Moral Courage and Your Voice
  • Keynote speaker:   Maureen Healy:  Increasing Your Influence Through Authentic Leadership.

In addition to these keynote speeches or discussions, there were breakout sessions that included the following topics:

  • From Bootstraps to Bootcamp–How to Go from “Starting Up” to Funding, Running & Leading
  • Beyond the C-Suite Career:  Options & Board Pursuit
  • Networking Through Philanthropy
  • Be the Change:  “Change” Suite Leaders
  • The Power of Community
  • Everyone’s In Sales:   Make it A Profit Center by Selling Yourself and Your Ideas to the Organization
  • The Who’s Who of STEM

The idea behind the conference is to empower women in the information technology field who face the double challenge of working in a technological field which is dominated by men.    I did a separate blog post on Suzanne Bates’ talk on “One Size Does Not Fit All,” which so impressed me that I bought her book “All the Leader You Can Be.”

And to tell you the truth, it wasn’t for my position as a project manager that I thought the book would be helpful.   Last Saturday, I was elected to the position of Division Director for the South Division of District 30 Chicagoland for Toastmasters International, which means I will have 7 Area Directors reporting to me as I have five leaders at the District Level including the District Director who are my direct reports or supervisors.    So it is of very high importance that I get a set of metrics to be able to assess and evaluate the Area Directors under me.   Of course, I intend to assess myself so that I can project my strengths and shore up my own weaknesses, so that I will be a good leader for the District level leaders (our Toastmasters version of the C-suite) to work with during the coming year when my position starts in July.

I learned so much at that one-day conference that it’s going to take a lot of time to absorb!

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