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HIA-LI News

HIA-LI Reporter Coverage: Women Leading the Way Leadership Executive Breakfast

HIA-LI’s 8th Annual Women Leading the Way Leadership Executive Breakfast 2018

By Taylor Cardoso, Contributing Writer To HIA-LI

Terri Alessi Miceli, HIA-LI President and CEO with Women Leading the Way Panelists

On November 29th, HIA-LI conducted one of their prestigious events, the 2018 Women Leading The Way panel and networking breakfast at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack. In its eighth year of empowering the Long Island business community, Women Leading the Way without a doubt continued in its mission. Returning for her fourth year as the moderator for the event, Domenique Camacho-Moran, Partner at Farrell Fritz P.C., along with the esteemed panel: Karen Frank, Vice President of Omnicon, subsidiary of HBM Prenscia, Teresa Ferraro, President of East/West Industries Inc., Gwen O’Shea, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Development Cooperation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Anne Shybunko-Moore, President and CEO of GSE Dynamics reminded us of the new definition of being a lady: powerful, fearless, bold, bright, and unapologetically passionate.

Terri-Alessi Miceli, HIA-LI’s President and CEO starts off the conversation with a striking fact: “There are 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that employ more than 13 million people and generate approximately $1.9 trillion in sales each year. They are a major economic engine.” Women are vocalizing now more than ever their role as business professionals encouraging the next generation to work together and work forward into the future.

Mentorship, networking, and homogenizing a woman’s personal and work life were the key topics of discussion. Creating a strong network of women around ourselves “…is what we can do, and how we can navigate this landscape better than the past.” says Karen Frank, events such as Women Leading The Way are essential in connecting more women in business; from events such as this, women can strengthen their bonds and grow from each other’s experiences.

Creating a mentorship philosophy is paramount for progress. To teach these ideals will aid in fulfilling the responsibility to create a better environment for women in the workplace. But what are the noteworthy points in this philosophy? “Networking is key!” For Theresa Ferraro, passion in the product, in the business, and in the customer;” is how she credits her success and bliss in her business. All the panelists agreed that passion, patience, and perseverance were crucial on their course to success, and that it is important to remember failure is part of the journey. Moderator, Domenique Camacho- Moran explains “You don’t get to success by not failing, take risks! The defining moral is what you use to move forward.” Determination is the key to success, is the consensus among these powerful ladies; fear of failing will only be a deterrent; don’t give up, and that growth comes from challenge!

Karen Frank drives home the point stating “Do we ever really fail, or are we learning from these lessons… hope will not build a business… take failure and turn it into an eventual success.” But from these failures, how to remind ourselves to not lose sight of our goals? How do we stay strong in our careers paths? “Take time to recoup, be grounded and be present. Use your support system to get there” Fellow panelist, Gwen O’Shea shares her insight, “Home, however you describe it, is critical for success.”

The stress on the importance of family seems to be a huge contributor across the board for what keeps these ladies positive. They put necessary emphasis on the positivity of family, giving a word of advice for young women; don’t let having a family be ammunition for male executives to think you are not deserving of a powerful position in business. It does not have to be a balance, it should be a blending. Ferraro, Frank, and Shybunko-Moore reminisce over their children accompanying them to work and instilling the values of staying in your career as a parent, for women especially they must go the extra mile to remind male coworkers of their strength.

Women Leading the WayBut how do we develop the confidence to feel and ask for respect in such a male dominated industry? Anne Shybunko-Moore points out “…engineering, manufacturing, defense products; three fields heavily male dominated, three women executives are here in that field!” She emphasizes why women need to stay determined in this field that seeing other women in positions of power is important for young women, that they can see it is possible. Shybunko-Moore also stresses the importance of molding an identity of a business woman. Women could develop their femininity and stand out with style and determination, confidence, knowledge, strength, and expertise. Understanding the inner workings of a company and the roles of the employees is critical to becoming an exemplary boss regardless of gender. She uses a wonderful metaphor to sum up her ideals: “Be the red suit in a sea of black suits once you’ve earned it!”

By the close of the conversation, the room is swelling with appreciation for the ladies of the morning, their words have made the prospect for more women in business on Long Island much brighter. Camacho- Moran, Ferraro, Frank, O’Shea, and Shybunko-Moore give the term “fight like a girl” a fierce new meaning, punching through barriers for women in business. Shybunko-Moore sums up the mood of Women Leading The Way perfectly: “…if it offends people along the way, I hope they understood why I did it.

All around the 2018 HIA-LI Women Leading the Way was successful in its mission to foster a supportive and collaborative network to uplift, inspire and support the next generation of Long Island business leaders.