FIU Business Power Up conference creates an engaged community on International Women’s Day.

FIU Business Power Up conference creates an engaged community on International Women’s Day.

In the opening session of the 2019 Power Up Women’s Leadership Summit, Mistress of Ceremony Luly B. Carreras (BS ’00) laid out the intention of the day.

“We owe it to the world to step into our greatness,” she told the audience attending FIU Business’ fourth annual women’s business event, held March 8, 2019 at the Pullman Hotel in Miami. Her remarks led off a day that combined information and inspiration, with the goal of helping business women connect with each other, reimagine their lives, set high goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

Joanne Li
Joanne Li

Embracing the power of engagement was a high point of the agenda for the approximately 250 women who attended the conference, in addition to 25 speakers who addressed attendees and 27 sponsors who supported the conference.

“We have to hold hands and really build this network,” said Joanne Li, dean of FIU Business, in her morning greeting to attendees. “Think bigger than yourself!”

Ebony Smith
Ebony Smith

Li’s message of self-empowerment through network building and self-awareness were expanded upon in the morning session by Ebony Smith, founder of Ebenum Equation, who served as keynote speaker.

“You own your own development, especially as it comes to your career, your personal life, your family life. You have to decide that today’s the day you’re going to own it,” she said. “You’re always going to have to build your own accelerator, to build a personal development plan for yourself, one you hold dear.”

Visionary Leaders luncheon panel

Information and inspiration were themes throughout the day. The Visionary Leaders luncheon panel focused on personal experiences of powerful women who shared the vision and the tools that helped them reach success. Morning and afternoon breakout sessions focused on two tracks – corporate and entrepreneur — with topics including speaking up in a corporate environment, crafting the perfect pitch for an entrepreneurial idea, developing a personal financial strategy, and scaling up a business. Between each session there were ample opportunities to network, grab a coffee, and visit with one of a dozen different vendors and services that came to interact.

The day concluded with a celebratory networking reception and a message of gratitude for all those who participated from Yanyn San Luis, founder of the event. As director of alumni relations, San Luis worked with a team from the FIU Business Women’s Alumni Council to create and shape the original event, and has led its development since it began as a half-day conference.

For the second straight year, the 2019 event was held on International Women’s Day to promote the concept of personal empowerment and collective success.

Yanyn San Luis
Yanyn San Luis

The 2020 PowerUp conference will take place on the Friday before International Women’s Day, March 6, 2020, at the Pullman Hotel in Miami. For more information, visit the Power Up Summit website. If you’re interested in sponsorships, please contact Yanyn San Luis,, 305-348-5495.

Advice, experience and words of wisdom shared.

Here are some of the thoughts shared by speakers the Visionary Leaders luncheon panel, moderated by FIU Business faculty member Seema Pissaris:

“Raise your hand, and take on the challenge….I shared my aspirations with every boss early on. People remember that when the opportunity comes calling.” – Ileana Musa, MA ’93, head of International Banking & Lending, Morgan Stanley

“Men are trained to get punched in the chin, get up and do it again the next day….you have to be one of the boys and prepare yourself to stand up again.” – Katina Aziz, president, KORE Consulting LLC

“Point out the skills of another woman that you admire. Be her coach. Let her coach you. Build each other up and together, be a source of growth and open feedback. Vulnerability is not weakness, but rather opens the door for very deep connections.” – Renee Wolf, human resources business partner, FCA Fiat Chrysler

“The characteristic of confidence…cannot be overstated. We have this hesitation, humility, but we may not know it. Walk in with an enormous air of confidence.” – Sonia Dula, former vice chair, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

“It is extremely important to understand the type of life you want, and don’t feel guilty about it” – Alba Baylin, BS ’95, VP Community & Stakeholder Relations, The Coca-Cola Company

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