Oakland County Employment Diversity Council (OCEDC) held its 11th Annual Workplace Diversity Forum: Women in Leadership Summit on March 28, 2013 at Oakland Schools Conference Center located in Waterford, MI. This forum celebrates the influence of women: “our voices and our victories”.
R. Frank Russell, Oakland County Employment Diversity Council Chairperson states, “…at this signature event women address their issues in their own way: mentorship and networking”. He sees what’s occurring today as a part of succession planning by creating opportunities for women to develop relationships where friends are made, grow, and maintain nurturing across generations.
Celeste McDermott and Kathleen LaTosch, Event Co-Chairs set the stage by supporting the need for OCEDC to obtain a best practice diversity standard for all families. Participants learned methods of focusing to assist creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. A demonstration on the manner in which one introduces oneself while networking was rehearsed in order to gain mastery. Denise Roberts presented the Art of Networking which expresses networking is working smarter and does not always require doing things oneself. Dr. Lauren Barton supported women taking care of themselves through a presentation on the heart with a theme that women in leadership must take care of themselves.
Keynote speaker Ellen Hill Zeringue, Vice President of Marketing, Detroit Tigers served as an example of women breaking through the concrete ceiling and navigating the sticky floor concepts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College and is a graduate of Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Detroit XVII class as well as Inforum’s Executive Leadership Program.
The panel discussion included a cross section of professional women including: Janet Howard, Deputy Director of Michigan’s Workforce Development; Gabriela Ramirex-Darris, Hispanic Initiative Coordinator of Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan; Michelle Richards, Executive Director of The Center for Empowerment and Economic Development, and Sook Wilkinson, PhD. Together the panelists and panel moderator spoke on the progression of women’s voices being important along with their victories. Sook Wilkinson, clinical psychologist made the case regarding the need to break the mold of the female gender as not having capabilities for leadership.
Opportunities to get involve are presented monthly to meet and build upon diversity through membership of the OCEDC. Membership is free and the monthly networking provides a complimentary lunch. Attendees are limited between 30-60 members so contact OCEDC at www.ocedc.net to begin your journey in networking with diversity.
Author: Michelle Abd’Elaziz, Reporter on Urban Planning, representing GreeningDetroit.com