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Friday, 6 March, 2009 12:01 PM

Sue Marx, Rhonda Walker and J. Kay Felt receive Women's Leadership Awards at 13th Annual MBPA Conference Luncheon

Photo by Eric Maes / Michigan Business & Professional Association

Honored: Sue Marx, Rhonda Walker and J. Kay Felt were among the winners at this year's conference.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Like Star Trek, there are five generations in the workforce: traditionalists (silent), baby boomers, X, Y, and Milleniums, and all of them were at the 13th Annual Conference & Awards Luncheon Thursday morning at the Fairlane Club. "In today's economy," said Sue Marx of Sue Marx Films, Inc., "it is important for women to stay strong. We must not lose sight of how amazing we are."

Marx was given the Small Business Achievement Award as this year's Women & Leadership in the Workplace, while Rhonda Walker of WDIV-TV Local 4 Detroit won the Media Category and Dykema retiree J. Kay Felt was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, as they and several continue to help break the glass ceiling for women everywhere. "We have done a terrific job mentoring women," Felt said. "Every man needs to know that they [must] have a relationship with someone, young and old. It is essential to this country."

"It's Your Time to Thrive" was this year's theme, as panelists spoke about current tips on how to thrive in the recent economic recession, and both misconceptions and stereotypes as well as the work styles and challenges generations from all walks of life and work have faced and continue to do so today. Quoting Rebecca Reed, Pam Strohmeyer of Rehmann states that Generation X are expect to not only work, but also expect to live, as they become more self-sufficient with less supervision. "Generation Y," she continues, "live, then work; they're more optimistic. Generation Y needs the supervision, needs the structure. They're not going to be scared to be confronted."

But it's not just gaps in generation, according to Lynda K. Jeffries of The Leadership Group. "Organizations need to look deep to see what they're all about in terms of generations. Should they work as a team or work alone? Organizations have to be kind in the education and training experience. We have to be honest with ourselves and with others when overcoming generational gaps and age differences," she continues. "Ask them why they do it, and you ask them how you feel. We see age, race, gender [as barriers]. We're living in a fast-paced, high-living lifestyle. Trust is important; so is honesty and be willing to learn."

Stacey K. Griesmer of Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment, Inc. said that teamwork, defining the right outcomes, support structures, and mentoring are very important. "Younger people don't want to be micromanage. They don't want you to help them put the pieces together."

Where layoffs and cutbacks are concerned in the Great Recession, creditibility and communication are also important as well, along with acceptance, tolerance, and taking action. "Change is slow. It's not going to change overnight. Behavioral change is a slow process. Everything takes baby steps" said Dana Davis of Butzel Long.

Yet, it is still a time for a change. "Leaders have to exhibit the confidence [like President Obama]," said Dr. Patricia Maryland of St. John Health, who is honored in the Professional Category. "We must provide you a clarity of where we're going. It's about who are as a people. But we can be successful and we can achieve great things. Let's take the courage and the time to stand up. It's about being able to take care of others. Collaboration is the key, and so is compassion for others."

RELATED STORY: Many Honored at 10th Annual Women's Conference

 

Photo by Eric Maes / Michigan Business & Professional Association

The 13th Annual Women's Leadership Conference was held inside The Fairlane Club in Dearborn, Mich.

 

Photo by Eric Maes / Michigan Business & Professional Association

WDIV-TV Local 4's Rhonda Walker receives the Distingiushed Service Award.

 

Photo by Eric Maes / Michigan Business & Professional Association

Rhonda Walker addresses the Women's Leadership Conference.

 

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