The wind beneath Olivia Pope’s wings, Judy Smith, woke up Women of Power Summit attendees Friday, March 1, as the last day got underway. Opting out of the normal interview Q-and-A format of the other conversations, Smith, whose clients have included Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant and Wesley Snipes, issued a caveat in the session titled “The Courage to Be Powerful.”
Before getting started, Smith, who currently represents Jesse Jackson Jr., let it be known that she has never slept with any president or directed a Huck to take anybody out. Warm and energetic, Smith answered a myriad of questions touching on how she defined success and balancing work and motherhood. When the session ended, Smith showed some appreciation for “Scandal’s” success. “I mean this from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “Thank you all for showing up for me.”
Popular panels following Smith included “Making the Move: Landing Your Dream Job,” “She’s Got Game: Lessons from Women in Sports,” and “Entrepreneurs Masters Class: Taking Your Business to the Next Level,” hosted by Walmart and featuring Zane as one of the panelists. During the “Social Media Accelerator” session, which emphasized the growing importance of social media in the workplace, moderator Patricia Césaire shared the sobering fact that “8 percent of companies have fired someone on the basis of social media mistakes.” And, in the future, that number is only rising.
Chilly weather threatened to shut down Macy’s garden lunch and fashion show but a lovely tent came to the rescue. To kick things off, Lincoln gave away prizes before models sporting a number of looks available at Macy’s sashayed their way through the luncheon. Afterwards, the women were encouraged to hit Macy’s Comestics Pavilion where makeovers as well as wardrobe consultations were available.
For some reason, Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer’s conversation was scheduled in a smaller room so the session was delayed as the divider was removed to accommodate the crowd. Like the other women, Brewer spoke of tough choices regarding family and work balance, particularly commuting from her home in Atlanta to Bentonville, Arkansas for the last year.
The panels “Women & Money Part 2: Love and Money” and “Let’s Talk About Sex!” followed but many of the attendees were already gearing up for the evening’s activities. State Farm sponsored the Comedy Night featuring hilarious comedians like England’s Gina Yashere, the only woman on the bill. Then Lincoln took over with a delicious dinner and singer Joe getting up close and personal with Women of Power Summit attendees, dipping in and out of the crowd often, as he performed his hits “All the Things,” “What If a Woman,” “I Wanna Know” and “Don’t Wanna Be a Player.”
The eighth annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit started with a bang and ended even louder, with many of the women vowing to do it all again next year. –ronda racha penrice