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Sunday, February 12, 2012

SWIM is a win!

Good thing this blog is labeled Food Friends 'N Fun because I want to share a fun experience that is connected more with leadership and inspiration than food. This Friday was the Sloan Women in Management Conference (SWIM) and it was a true success. Before I jump into inspiration, I will tell you that I knew we were off to a good start when I saw "Bakers Best Catering" stickers on everything because it meant the food would be delicious. I will share some highlights and inspiration I felt here. I could truly write a whole blog about each of the individual women that spoke, but for the sake of space, I highlighted a few. I encourage you to read the below and respond to some questions I have posed as well as to check out the hyperlinks to learn more...

SWIM - Sloan Women In Management

The SWIM Conference was held in the Media Center on MIT and it was a beautiful campus.  This 8 hour conference was impressive and energizing. There were about 400 participants, many volunteers and about 210 people on the waiting list for this event. The event was great and filled with some of the finest women in business and media including VP of Google: Marissa Mayer, Founder of Gilt: Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, CEO of BJ's: Laura Sen and Founder and CEO of Vosges: Katrina Markoff. I was mesmerized and in awe of each woman I met and heard speak. My only wish is that men could have shared in the experience that I had.

Marissa Mayer, the morning keynote speaker, makes me feel good about being a bit of a dork, she used Tech Geek to describe herself but she reminded me that there is power in being smart and innovative. She was the first female engineer at Google and believes that "Passion has no Gender" and that we should all "Find our rhythm." My rhythm is to always have something good to eat, no matter how busy I get-- it's what keeps me going and energized. What's your rhythm?

Part of my inspiration to start this blog comes from an entrepreneurial place. Lunch was my dream come true. Alexandra Wilkis Wilson joined ten of us and told her the story of her life as well as how she founded Gilt and made it a huge success. She was perfectly accessorized and I would expect nothing less from a fashion guru! She works hard and over 4.5 years took Gilt from a tiny company with 13,000 people on the mailing list to a Billion Dollar company with over 5 million people world wide. WOW! Many of the restaurants I visit and neat things I do come through a Gilt City Voucher. I am curious to understand how daily deals and flash sales affect customers and businesses. She interviewed with 120 companies out of Harvard Business School and the connections she made through this process helped form her list of companies to work with on Gilt. Keeping the connection is key! Can't wait to read the book Alexandra and her partner are finishing up in May 2012 when it comes out!

Also at lunch, I was lucky enough to chat with Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haute Chocolate. She is also a foodie and has a creative imagination when it comes to chocolate. I know her as the one who created those innovative chocolate bars in Whole Foods including a bar with bacon in it. I had visited her store in SOHO a bunch of years ago and can't wait to go back to see the newly renovated space. It was great to meet a woman who has made it in the food industry. She just went with her gut and created awesome products! Travel and food inspire her, what inspires you?

Laura Sen was the closer, if we're looking at the conference as a baseball game, SWIM had pitched a perfect game and the BJ's CEO closed it out. Laura Sen is one of twelve female CEOs in a Fortune 500 Company. She embodies great leadership and believes that teamwork, hard work and kindness are keys to success. She goes to visit every one of the BJ's stores to thank people for their hard work. Also, for success, we need to promote ourselves and always stick with our core values. What are yours?

Now, I will start the count down for next year's SWIM conference! I guarantee that the team of women putting the conference together worked hard to find some of the most dynamic leaders in business and they hit it out of the park. It was empowering to listen to these women talk about how important it is to mentor and develop your teams while innovating.

Image for this post were from the SWIM website.

Thank you to Sloan Women In Management for highlighting this post on your site! What an honor.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Looking forward to seeing what amazing things and businesses YOU create! Someday soon, someone will be blogging about how they were inspired by you!