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Local / National News

Wednesday, 4 February 2005 :: 12:12 pm

Many Honored at 10th Annual Women's Conference


Jennifer Granholm was the featured speaker at the 10th Annual Women and Leadership in the Workplace Conference.

by Jason Rzucidlo

Many local women were honored at the 10th Annual Women and Leadership in the Workplace Conference. It took place on March 8th at the Burton Manor in Livonia, MI. The theme of the event was "Ten Pillars of Leadership: Lessons from a Decade of Dedication."

Among the honorees are Gail Torreano (President - AT&T Michigan), Carmen Harlan (Anchor - WDIV Channel 4), Anne Stevens (Executive VP - Ford Motor Company), Marianne Udow (Dir. of Michigan Human Services), Sherry Washington (Founder - Sherry Washington Gallery) and Rosa Parks (Civil Rights Activist).

The featured speaker was Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. She is the 47th governor of the State of Michigan. She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and holds degrees from the University of California at Berekely and the Harvard Law School.

Gov. Granholm reports, "In 2004, Michigan was the #1 state for women in cabinet positions. We all care about a robust economy. We still have some miles to go for women to exercise leadership. Women care about what's next for Michigan."

Jennifer Granholm realizes that Michigan has been losing jobs, most of them from the manufacturing sector. She announces, "We are in a challenged moment. I understand we are in a transition. What are we going to do as leaders to take action? We have the most detailed economic plan in the country. Including $600 million in tax cuts for auto companies so they can deal with the victims of globalization. We gotta train those who have left as victims. I've divided the state into 13 regions."

The Governor adds, "Michigan has a 6.2% unemployment rate. We will use community colleges and train them. I plan to accelerate infrastructure by upgrading roads, bridges, clean polluted sites. We are going to build and rebuild our state. We are going to spend $3.4 billion investing in Michigan."

Mrs. Granholm said that our state, Michigan, has very low debt. It is the "3rd best managed state in the U.S." She plans on creating a workforce for the future. The Governor wants to send a message to kids that they have to go beyond high school.

Many local women were honored and received awards

Carmen Harlan is among one of Detroit's most beloved news anchors. She has been working at WDIV Channel 4 since 1978. Currently, she co-anchors the 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with her partner Devin Scillian. She has carried the Olympic torch twice. Harlan is involved in many local organizations and charities.

Harlan was in attendance to accept the award for Distinguished Service in the Media Category. Upon accepting her award, she said, "Women have so many choices today. I was told at an early age to study communications. Women are branching out in many ways. Our homeland security starts at home. We are the front lines. My daughter is here. I wanted to say thank you for this wonderful honor."

Anne Stevens is the Executive Vice President of the Ford Motor Co. She also serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Americas. She is the first female Vice President in the history of the automaker. She has a bachelor's degree from Drexel University.

Stevens was there to accept the award for Distinguished Service in the Professional Category. After receiving her award, she said, "Every single woman is a leader in their own right. Go for your dream because you can have it!"

Gail Torreano is the President of AT&T Michigan. She has been working with AT&T since 1991 when it was Michigan Bell at the time. She's also worked for John Engler in Lansing ad was the Chairwoman of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from Central Michigan University.

Torreano was on hand to accept the Distinguished Service award in the Business Category. Upon accepting her award, she said, "This is truly a humbling experience and one I never thought I'd receive. My last word to you is how critical it is to have teams. I started out with my father who is my mentor. 13,000 employees. That's what this is about."

Marianne Udow is the Director of Michigan's Dept. of Human Services. She was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2004. She also served as Senior Vice President of Health Care Products and Provider Services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Udow was in attendance to accept the award for Distinguished Service in the Human Services Category. Upon accepting her award, she said, "Many of you have been a mentor to me. I feel incredibly grateful to hear those stories. My boss, Governor Granholm, inspires me. Really it's a recognition of all of us."

Sherry Washington is the founder of the Sherry Washington Gallery. The SWG opened in 1989 in Downtown Detroit. It provides quality art to corporations, national and local museums as well as private collectors. She also founded the BWW Group Inc. which is a consulting firm. Washington graduated from the University of Michigan.

Washington was there to accept the award for Distinguished Service in the Small Business category. After receiving her award, she said, "Thank you to my family. I am loyal to this Detroit community. It's great that Detroit has so much to celebrate."

Rosa Parks won the Distinguished Service Award for Civic and Community Involvement. On Dec. 1, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. She is known as the "Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement." Sadly, she passed away in 2005. Her legacy lives on...

Practical Networking Tips

Denise Anne Taylor was the presenter of this seminar during the 10th Annual Women and Leadership in the Workplace conference. She is a protocol and etiquette consultant for Competitive Advantage, Inc. She received a degree from the Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI.

Taylor gave the audience tips for meeting someone in a professional business setting. She said, "Our behavior is never an accident. It takes 2.8 seconds to make a first impression. A handshake can be judged favorably or unfavorable. We tend to lose our ability to connect with others. We're not really present with the person."

She introduced the term "elevator pitch." During this two to three minute introduction that you would have with another person, you should be able to: Tell what it is that you are able to do. You should be able to describe your unique ability. It's going beyond just your name and the company you work for.

Denise Anne Taylor reports, "We do live more isolated lives. If you join a group, you cut your risk of death in half. Social connectivity is integral to all of us as human beings. The person who has extended their hand first has control. The business card exchange should be done up front. Face it to them. Read the business card to them."

A Practical Guide to a Mentoring Relationship

There was three panelists and one moderator in this seminar about building a relationship with a mentor. Cherryl Thames, Founder & CEO of Hidden Treasures was the moderator. The panelists included Vernice Davis Anthony, President & CEO of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council; Deidre Bounds, Managing Partner of Brogan & Partners; Elaine Baker, President of Baker Consulting.

Deidre Bounds describes who you should choose to be your mentor. She said, "I think it's important to work with someone who shares some of the traits you have but is a little more mature. You're learning from one another."

Elaine Baker adds, "Mentors like to be approached. When you say 'Let's have coffee' they will be more open. It's important for the individual to know what you're expectations are. They will help you find resources and give practical advice."

Once you find a good mentor, how do you build your relationship with them? Vernice Davis Anthony explains, "Respect their time and value it. Not to use the time to complain. That's not the purpose of the mentor. Keep the relationship dynamic and moving."

Deidre Bounds said, "You understand who they are and know their values. Nine times out of ten, we know someone who knows somebody else that would be a great mentor. Sometimes it's coming out of your comfort zone. Approaching them in a way that is not condescending."

Click Here for more Pictures from the 10th Annual Women and Leadership in the Workplace Conference.

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