2016-7 in review: FIU’s Power Up Women’s Leadership Summit launches expanded program.

2016-7 in review: FIU’s Power Up Women’s Leadership Summit launches expanded program.

This summer, BizNews will present highlights of College of Business events held throughout the year.

New insights, new colleagues and new inspiration: these were the takeaways for more than 200 attendees of the second annual PowerUp Women’s Summit.

The conference, presented by the College of Business and its Women’s Alumni Advisory Council, took place on Jungle Island on April 20, 2017. For its second year, the event expanded from a half-day to a full-day program, which included panels on visionary leaders, technology and being your own boss.

2016-7 in review: FIU’s Power Up Women’s Leadership Summit launches expanded program.

Getting things off to a good start was keynote speaker Susan Ford Collins, a sought-after executive coach and author of “The Technology of Success” book series. Her talk, titled “Success has Gears -Which Gear Are You in?” offered powerful but easy-to-implement career building tools.

“Highly successful people take the time each day to acknowledge the success they have, not the failures. Record your successes,” Collins said. And, she said, taking on more is not always the right move. “Success is also deletion. How many of you have stopped doing something you hated and discovered something way better?”

The conference was open to all, and drew attendees visiting South Florida as well as those who were part of the local network. A strong contingent of FIU graduates were among the speakers and helped participants recognize the power of the alumni network.

Luly B, our mistress of ceremonies provided "the fire" throughout the day for attendees.
Luly B, our mistress of ceremonies provided “the fire” throughout the day for attendees.

A day of learning and connecting

Seema Pissaris, clinical professor in the Department of Management & International Business, moderated the Visionary Leaders panel featuring six executives – five of whom were FIU alumni.

“Small victories help you climb the confidence ladder,” Pissaris said, agreeing with Collins that documenting your days is invaluable. “Write about the shot you are going to take – not next year, or next week, but tomorrow.”

Francis Hondal (BBA ’87) executive VP, Global Consumer Credit and Loyalty Solutions at MasterCard Worldwide, advised the audience to dare to reach, noting that finding opportunities isn’t always easy.

And, said Pissaris, getting all the personal-professional ducks to line up might not happen immediately. “Maybe that week, or that month is not balanced, but trust me, balance will come.”

Susan Ford Collins, keynote speaker, provided words of wisdom on the gears we use to achieve success.
Susan Ford Collins, keynote speaker, provided words of wisdom on the gears we use to achieve success.

Others on that panel were:

  • Carmen Perez-Carlton (BBA ’82), president of FiberNet Direct
  • Diane Ramy Faulconer (BS ’74, MS ’74), a former senior executive and management consultant, philanthropist
  • Elizabeth Oates, VP finance and strategy, Celebrity Cruises
  • Pamela Silva-Conde (BA ’03, MBA ’12), co-anchor at Univision’s news program Primer Impacto.

Also drawing strong interest was the technology panel, where a wide-ranging discussion touched on opportunities for women in computing and other key tech economic drivers.

The men-to-women ration in the tech sectors needs to change. And that begins early. “Girls are good at math, we need girls to change the conversation,” said Holly Knowlton Delgado, channel account manager at Dell.

Once in a company’s inner circle, reach out. “If you are the only woman in the room, spread the word – we’re here,” Delgado said, adding that she’s thankful for the opportunities she’s found and likes the challenge of turning tech into business strategy. “How do we talk tech and really make it valuable to our customers?” she said.

Misha Kuryla, Suzy Batle and Yanyn San Luis pose after the “Be Your Own Boss” session.
Misha Kuryla, Suzy Batle and Yanyn San Luis pose after the “Be Your Own Boss” session.

Others urged participants to be on the lookout for potential opportunities to open a door. “The challenging project no one wanted? I jumped on it,” said Marta Duque (BBA ’01), senior manager, Global Business Process Optimization, Citrix. And don’t be afraid of critiques. “Feedback helps us be better,” she said.

The ubiquitous nature of technology is only increasing, said Teri Howard, (BBA ’85, MBA ’01), chief technology officer for the Miami Dolphins, and she agreed with Duque that it’s essential to take on important projects.

Lourdes “Luly” Balepogi (BS ’00) owner of consulting firm Luly B., Inc., moderated the final panel on entrepreneurship, which, said the speakers, takes a firm belief in oneself.

“Always believe something awesome is about to happen,” said Misha Kuryla (MIB ’04) the founder of Misha’s Cupcakes.

Plans are already underway for next year’s event that will take place on International Women’s Day, said Yanyn San Luis, interim director of alumni relations in the COB’s Division of Information Technology.

“Power Up was an incredible opportunity for women to gather, network, learn from each other, and come away with insights that will allow them to move forward in both their personal and professional lives,” she said. “We are especially grateful to members of our Women’s Alumni Council, who took on critical roles as organizers and speakers.”

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