Comerica provided 500 gals the opportunity to hear from a top-tier line up of females about the challenges, opportunities and advances for women in business. On hand to be part of the panel on Friday, October 13, at the Dallas Mariott Las Colinas was actress/advocate Geena Davis, who created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender. But it was more than listening and learning. It was also celebrated with a nice check presentation for ChildCareGroup. Here’s a report from the field:
Five hundred guests gathered to learn, connect and grow at the inaugural Dallas-Fort Worth Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium, a sellout, on Friday, October 13, at the Dallas Marriott Las Colinas.
Geena Davis, award-winning actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, headlined the event, while the luncheon opened with a local Power Panel featuring Deborah Gibbins – CFO, Mary Kay Inc.; Barbara Lynn – Chief District Judge, United States District Court for Northern District of Texas; Jennifer Sampson – CEO and President, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; and Nina Vaca – Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group / Comerica Incorporated Board of Director Member.
Long-time California Comerica Women’s Business Symposium emcee Celebrity Chef Jamie Gwen made sure the jam-packed program flowed smoothly with Texas Market President Peter Sefzik on-hand to welcome guests and share how Comerica is not only investing in women externally, but also internally with professional development opportunities for its colleagues.
The Power Panel moderated by Julia Wellborn, Comerica Bank’s Executive Director of Wealth Management, proved to be a lively discussion and dialogue — the panelists covered a variety of topics from mentoring, landing that coveted seat at the table to how they have dealt with gender discrimination. They also provided insight on their road to success and the importance of helping other women succeed.
Vaca applauded Comerica Bank Chairman and CEO Ralph Babb for his commitment to empowering women and fostering an environment for them to succeed. Comerica Inc. recently appointed its third female, president and CEO of Commercial Metals Company Barbara R. Smith, to its Board of Directors, which also includes Vaca and Jacqueline P. Kane, retired Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at The Clorox Company.
Davis then shared her perspective on gender equality and why it should matter to us all with the underlying theme that if women are seen in certain positions and/or roles, it encourages other girls and women to pursue these opportunities / careers. She also highlighted a few key studies conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that indicated there still is a significant gender gap in the entertainment and media industries as it relates to casting roles and featuring women in a non-traditional sense in media campaigns.
Haynes & Boone, Winstead PC and Bodman PC sponsored the Women’s Business Symposium — a portion of the event proceeds benefited the ChildCareGroup. Comerica North Texas Women’s Initiative representatives presented Tori Mannes, the CEO of the ChildCareGroup, with a check for $10,000. The ChildCareGroup provides or manages the early care and education for more than 14,000 Dallas-area children from low-income families. Because of donor support, these children have better learning environments; well-educated, caring teachers; and involved parents—key components to a good start in life and a solid foundation for the future.
The Women’s Business Symposium concluded with an open networking reception, providing an opportunity for guests to mix, mingle and exchange business cards and contact information in support of helping each other further their careers and personal growth.
* Photo credit: Lisa Means