CREW Richmond 2018 Women’s Leadership Summit

November 8, 2018
Written by: CREW Richmond Members

Approximately 120 women of different ages and career stages joined us for CREW Richmond’s 5th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit on November 8th. Following the tradition of previous summits, the day started out with an inspiring keynote speaker, continued with three one-hour breakout sessions, and concluded with a panel discussion.

This year’s keynote speaker was Jess Ekstrom, founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope.

Jess’ topic was “What’s Not in Our Bios: The Untold Stories of Success.” Using personal and family anecdotes, Jess gave numerous examples of the frequently-unpleasant reality behind a path to success. When she first started her business, the manufacturer she chose to make her headbands stole all her money, and she was forced to start over from scratch. That incident came on the heels of a widely publicized financial hardship that impacted most of her family members. Her stories were an important reminder that you never know what has propelled someone to their current success. Don’t assume it was always easy. Don’t quit in your own attempts when faced with obstacles. For more information about Jess and her causes: and

After the keynote, attendees split into three groups for concurrent one-hour breakout sessions:

Seeing Ethics Through 7 Lenses – Linda Fisher Thornton, CEO, Leading in Context and author of the book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership. Linda described the 7 lenses or perspectives of ethical responsibility and explained that “What we call ‘ethical leadership’ is actually a continuum of different perspectives. Looking through all 7, we get a kaleidoscopic view that guides us through complexity and keeps us grounded in ethical values.” For more information:;; @leadingincontxt @7Lenses 

The Brand of You – Cynthia Price, Director of Media and Public Relations, University of Richmond. Cynthia explained creating your personal brand to better position yourself for career success.  Know Yourself, Show Yourself, And Grow Yourself.  What do you want to be known for?  What can you do to build it?  Topics included a website blog, maximizing social media, speaking opportunities, leveraging your connections and networking inside and outside of your business.  Cynthia’s suggested Resources: Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson; Reinventing You by Dorie Clark; No Ego by Cy Wakeman; and You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero; Be sure to check out Cynthia’s blog  called Cynthia’s Communique:  You can also find her @PriceCynthia

Feedback: The Breakfast of Champions – Carla Ruiz, Leadership Coach and Facilitator, InnerWill. Carla led an interactive session around giving and getting feedback. She brought best practices to help foster a growth mindset. After a loose warm up, attendees lined up to ask a question for an opportunity of improvement, while other attendees provided quick suggestions for real solutions to incorporate into daily life. Finally, attendees openly discussed that understanding the intent behind the message was the key to being in the right mindset.  Carla helped remind us all that giving and receiving feedback is the only way toward improvement.  Learn more at

After the breakout sessions, three panelists – Lutheria Smith, Draper Aden Associates; Laura Windsor, Williams Mullen; and Jaime Wisegarver, Hirschler – offered their insights into the #MeToo Movement in the Workplace. Although the hashtag and recent news stories have brought sexual harassment to the forefront of the public’s attention, the issue has existed for decades. The hope is that recent attention will lead to better HR policies related to sexual harassment and all forms of discrimination.