US Congresswoman Jackie Speier founded the Professional Business Woman’s Conference in 1989. Twenty-five years later a sold out crowd of 5000 applauded her opening convention remarks. PBWC has been true to it’s mission statement. This non-profit provides skills development and networking opportunities as well as the inspiration and motivation to encourage women at all levels to achieve their ambitions and work toward gender equity in professional settings.

ABC7 News Anchor and PBWC Conference Host Cheryl Jennings, is weekday co-anchor of ABC7 News and the host of the Emmy Award-winning community affairs program, Beyond the Headlines.
Jennings asked the audience to tweet contributions to the PBWC scholarship fund. Within minutes $46,000 was raised towards the $50,000 2014 goal.

The next tweet request asked women to pledge to one or more of the following goals.

  • I WILL learn how to negotiate and advocate for myself
  • I WILL mentor/sponsor others
  • I WILL seek out mentorship
  • I WILL correct gender stereotypes
  • I WILL divide housework/child care
  • I WILL be heard and valued
  • I WILL give up on perfection
  • I WILL reach for opportunities
  • I WILL creat/join a community
  • I WILL take a risk and do something I am afraid of

The top three results from over 7000 tweets were “learning to negotiate and advocate”, “reach for opportunities” and “take a risk”. These answers will inform the 2015 PBWC roster of programs.

Charlotte Beers has been named “the most powerful woman in advertising” and “the queen of Madison Avenue,” and has served as United States Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
Dr. Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey is the first Polynesian Explorer and female Fellow in the history of the National Geographic Society. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of cultural intelligence.

This dynamic duo brought home the message that relationships are of greater importance than work. The ultimate relationship is that of you to yourself. Beers and Lindsey advised women to clear out the luggage on our backs given to us from the boss, mom, family and our own negative thoughts. We were urged to become clear about who we are and our basic traits. Our achievements will become more suitable and fulfilling as a result.

Covert Bravery:
There is something that lies within you. Learn to step in your own power. Navigate. Speak until your knees stop shaking. Do not let anyone define your truth. The magnitude of that courage will carry you. Joseph Campbell said “if you take one step towards the Gods, they will take you the rest of the way”.
Prepare yourself. How will you handle adversity? When you know yourself you will have clarity.
Ms Beers told a story about a difficult woman boss. One day she marched into the bosses office and declared she would not leave until they were on the same team. It worked!
Ladies, the lesson here is to mean what you say. Your feelings are true and uniquely yours. Have the guts to speak your truth. If you don’t you know it in your gut and you are a mere imitation of what you might have become. Not one of us is on this earth for that.

Huffington is the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of 13 books. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, Arianna moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.
Huffington serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published in March 2014.

Keynote Speech:
Arianna Huffington is one exceptionally intelligent and genuinely funny woman.
Her first question of the morning asked if women were putting their own oxygen masks on first.
She shared with us a 12 step program“because we must acknowledge we possess habits that have become addictions”.
Our primary bad habit is lack of sleep. Change that and transform everything. Do not dismiss this scientifically proven fact. Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honor. It’s connected to diseases such as Altzheimers. Start your reform campaign by vowing to get thirty more minutes of sleep. Enjoy waking up refreshed. Take a nap. Sleep your way to the top!

We are drowning in data and starved for wisdom. Connecting with the world is difficult when we are so hooked on our devices. How can we reconnect to ourselves? Have a specific time of night where you disconnect from the digital world and don’t start your day by looking at the smart phone lying next to you. Take one minute to breathe deeply, be grateful and set your intentions for the day, least you start the day with other people’s agendas. This will change the quality of your day. Multitasking is task switching, it is not productive, rather very stressful. In NYC people walk talk and text. When you are not staring at your phone you start noticing things like the building that went up two years ago.

There is so much to wonder and celebrate in everyday life. Why do we shrink our lives down to “to do” lists. We put our lives on hold until we find a husband or get a good job. Arianna’s wise mother told her “don’t miss the moment” and “change the channel darling, you are in charge of the clicker”. Don’t keep watching that scary movie. Of course we are stressed, exhausted and sick. Arianna has a screen saver of gazelles. They represent freedom and calmness to her. She said we need to have moments of regeneration and renewal in our day. Forget the old role models.

Type A’s are So Last Year:
Most success stories end with burn out. This is a collective delusion. We are now transitioning from sleep deprivation to taking care of ourselves which will prove to be more effective for our lives. Look at athletes, they prioritize sleep, meditation and yoga. 2013 was the year CEOs came out of the closet as meditation fans. Science shows that meditating five minutes gives us time to reconnect to our own center. Religions use different syntax. The Greek scientist Archimedes said “give me a place to stand and I can move the world”. Romy said “live life as though everything is rigged in your favor”.

Ditch the Blame Game:
Stop that victim mentality. See the hidden blessing in every heartbreak. Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen. Exhale. We don’t have to do it all. Note to self, seems my mind is still working on the old paradigm of “having it all”. Arianna asks us to go back through our life and find something good that you failed to make happen. Arianna explained how she became a writer by accident. Someone advised her to write a book dispite her protests that she was unable to compose a decent sentance. When her first book came out she became a sought after authority. Opportunity keeps knocking, stop saying no. There are always hundreds of examples of what you did not make happen. It’s so liberating to realize that you absolutely can’t do everything so concentrate on what supports you. Tap into that and you’ve got it made. Arianna states she does her 10% to the best of her ability and leaves the rest up to god. If you aren’t a god person, feel free to substitute your own higher power. It seems that most people like to feel that they are not alone. To quote the French philosopher Montaigne, “there are many terrible things in my life and most of them didn’t happen”.

Life lived just for ourselves is missing connection to our empathy and compassion. Those attributes are a shortcut to happiness. Don’t abandon your gifts, give them to others even while you are struggling. If you have a full time job but love to sing, join a choir and entertain hospice patients.

Dear readers, at this point in the day I was overwhelmed with the schedule line-up. Deciding to practice what was just preached I ditched the rest of the morning to take a leisurely breath filled walk in the sun. Here are the nineteen Open Forums offered concurrently.

Martha Beck, Ph.D.
‘Wayfinding’ Through Change
Martha Beck, Ph.D., holds three social-science degrees from Harvard University. She has taught a variety of subjects at Harvard and the American Graduate School of International Management.

Laura Bishop
‘Lift as you Rise’ Panelist
As vice president of public affairs for Best Buy Co., Inc., Laura Bishop is responsible for the strategic direction and management of global government affairs, corporate responsibility, and environmental sustainability and compliance.

Colette Carlson
Stress Less: YOU Management vs. Time Management
Colette Carlson, founder of Speak Your Truth, Inc. is a business communication expert, author and humorous keynote speaker who delivers strategies to master the art of speaking your truth to maximize relationships, revenue and results.

Marianne Cooper
When Women Succeed, America Succeeds
Marianne Cooper is a sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and a contributor to LeanIn.org. She was the lead researcher for Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Mark Gerzon
Go Global, California!
Mark Gerzon is a mediator, leadership coach, and author of Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences Into Opportunities. He has advised companies, states governments, the U.S. Congress, and foreign governments.

Erna Grasz
‘Lift as you Rise’ Panelist
Erna Grasz is the CEO at Asante Africa Foundation. Erna is an award-winning speaker with Toastmasters International, and has published numerous articles on leadership, communication skills and project management.

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
Body Language Tips and Tricks
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international keynote speaker, who coaches executives, female leaders, salespeople, and change-agents to build strong and productive business relationships by projecting confidence, credibility, caring, and charisma.”

Robyn Hatcher
Standing Ovation Presentations
Robyn Hatcher is an author and communication skills expert who brings more than 17 years of experience to her position as Founder and Principal of SpeakEtc., a boutique communication and presentation-skills training company.

Sheila Heen
Thanks for the Feedback
Sheila is a New York Times Business Bestselling Author, Founder of Triad Consulting Group and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She has been featured on Oprah, CNBC Power Lunch, and NPR.

Sara Jordan-Bloch
The Dynamics of Hyper-Effective Teams
Sara Jordan-Bloch is a sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She leads the Seeds of Change initiative, which aims to provide girls with knowledge and skills to find and strengthen their own voice.

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie
The Dynamics of Hyper-Effective Teams
Lori Nishiura Mackenzie is Executive Director of Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. She is executive editor of Gender News and the annual research magazine, upRising.

Gina Rudan
Hacking Culture
Gina is the best selling author of Practical Genius and President of Genuine Insights Inc., a global marketing and talent development consulting practice based in Silicon Valley.

Carla Sorey-Reed
‘Lift as you Rise’ Panel Moderator
Carla Sorey-Reed, the owner of Reed & Associates, a global business communications consultancy located in Oakland, CA, is an Executive Speaker, Press and Media Coach and Producer.

Luanne Tierney
Position Yourself for the Future
Luanne was featured in the Wall Street Journal as a woman “Succeeding in a Male-Dominated World” and has delivered countless presentations focused on the positive impact young professional will have on the future of high-tech companies, including Package Yourself for the Future: 12 Strategies for Success.

Rosemary Turner
‘Lift as you Rise’ Panelist
Rosemary Turner is President of UPS North California District. She is committed to mentoring young professionals and diverse groups of women as a member of the CEO Access Network, guiding young, entry level women, as they grow professionally and personally into successful, independent entrepreneurs.

Lise Vesterlund, Ph.D.
Gender Differences in Saying ‘No’
Lise Vesterlund is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. Much of her work aims to understand why men continue to be more successful than women in climbing the corporate ladder.

Lareina Yee

Women in Tech
Lareina Yee is a Partner at McKinsey & Company, specializing in high tech sales transformations. For the past two years, she co-led McKinsey’s research collaboration with The Wall Street Journal on “Women in the US Economy” with Joanna Barsh.

Fran Zone
Smart Out Loud* Everywhere
Fran Zone develops rising stars and leaders via The Zone Method™, a unique, real-time communication system utilized by Fortune 500 leaders to leverage personal leadership style, create compelling presentations, and master the art of ‘deliberate communication’ in all venues.

The Dolphin Tank
Your opportunity to present your business!
Springboard’s Dolphin Tank is a supportive, how can we help-driven, pitch session designed to provide entrepreneurs with actionable insights from the knowledgeable people in the audience, as well as experts in the venture capital industry. Moderated by Amy Millman.

Since I only had an hour and there was no wrong decision I consulted my inner gut and listened to my gut and chose Robyn Hatcher’s “Standing Ovation Presentations”.

Hatcher is an author and communication skills expert who brings more than 17 years of experience to her position as Founder and Principal of SpeakEtc., a boutique communication and presentation-skills training company.
Her topic at the convention was “Standing Ovation Presentations”. As proof of expertise she preceded her introduction with a five minute blast of gospel music. Hatcher understands how to wake up and interest the audience.

Leave the Shallow End of the Pool:
Throw yourself in the deep end, Take a risk Hatcher implores. Her life changed from clinical shyness when she entered and won a role in a high school play. Robyn admits she jumped into something uncomfortablem, telling not a soul to avoid being talked out of auditioning. Start with activating your “as if”. Step outside and you’re on! This sounds a lot like “fake it until you make it, but is actually about risk taking to find yourself.

Personal Branding:
Yes, you are being judged by what people are thinking. First impressions are non-verbal and five times more important than anything you say after you walk in the door. In fact body language makes up 60-80% of first impressions. It takes six minutes to judge someone and up to twelve times to undo a negative impression. Most of what you say will be forgotten but people will remember how you made them feel.

The Three V’s:

  1. Visual: what’s seen includes eye contact, handshake, posture, movement, gestures, dress appearance and facial expressions
  2. Verbal: what you do speaks so loud I can’t hear what you say
  3. Vocal: eyes may be the window to the soul but your voice is the window to the heart.

Express to Impress:
Have you been in a meeting where someone didn’t hear what you said and ten minutes later says the exact same thing and everyone commends them? Raise your hand and re-submit the idea. Get recognition.
Wait 4 seconds before speaking, it gives you attention, power, and allows you to organize your thoughts.
Stop already with the monotone talking. People hate high talkers, whatever-ing, and trailing off sentences.


Vocal Adrenaline, I mean Vocal Rush began the closing program with an incredible a cappella performance. What followed was a presentation of scholarships. Huge props to the student who thanked the generation of women who paved the way for her.

Vision 2020: Evolution or Extinction: Executive Panel Discussion included an impressive collection of industry leaders:

  • Anshu Bhardwaj, Dir, Strategy and Business Development,Walmart Global eCommerce
  • Kathleen Brown, Gen Mgr, Enterprise and Partners Group, Microsoft
  • Sandy Carter, Gen Mgr, Ecosystem Dev and Social Business Evangelist, IBM
  • Beth Dein, Chief Info Officer, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Kelin Kuhn, Intel Fellow, Technology and Manufacturing Group
  • Kelly Kramer, Senior Vice Pres, Corporate Finance, Cisco
  • Kelly Livers, VP Regional Branch, Exec Southern Region, CFP Charles Schwab
  • Susan Miller, Dir of Software Dev, Oracle Corporation
  • Tony Scott, Chief Information Officer, VMware
  • Don Smoot, SVP, GLobal Customer Operations, VMware
  • Rhonda Morris, VP, Human Resources Downstream and Chemicals, Chevron Corp
  • Gisela Paulsen,Senior Dir, Franchise Head, Virology Marketing/Sales,Genentech
  • John Simon, Senior Vice Pres, Human Resources, P. G. and E.
  • Michelle Stillman, VP, Internal Audit, Hewlett-Packard Co.


Keaton is the New York Times bestselling author of Then Again. After Diane’s introduction we were treated to a montage of her memorable forty year film career including the Godfather trilogy, Annie Hall, The First Wives Club and Something’s Gotta Give. Her many awards include the Golden Globe and the Academy Award.
Diane spoke of love in all it’s forms, adopting her trademark “la-de-da” personality to reminisce about all her on-screen kisses.

Keaton has a seventeen year old daughter who found an obscure website by Valdez Addiction proclaiming her one of the ten most ugly actresses. Even an award winning actress has her self-doubts. Let it go she told herself. Don’t wallow in self-pity. She reminded herself she loves her work, friends, brother, daughter and herself. Expanding on the notion of beauty, Diane asks why we limit the definition of beauty to Angela Joli. Why is gold the gold standard and why are diamonds a girls best friend?

Keaton reminds us that she is a part of the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964. Just because major boards require retirement at age 65 doesn’t mean she’s disappearing any time soon. The same goes for Cher at 67, Robert Deniro at 69 or the 71 year old Paul McCartney. She does not care if the US government proclaims her an oldster. Many of her fellow Boomers refuse to acknowledge their coming demise so tough luck Gen Y’ers. Keaton says her life expectancy is 19 more years and she intends to take full advantage of every moment, “looking through the picture window her eyes frame with renewed awe”. She urges us to let go of preconceived notions of who we are. For Diane beauty is simple yet expansive.

Loving Life:
Diane Vreeland spent lifetime looking for something she’s never seen. Diane Keaton will try harder to look for what she doesn’t see when it’s right before her eyes. She has a mental list of all the actors she hase kissed and men she hopes to kiss, like Robt Redford. Then she remembers it’s a shame she missed out on Clint Eastwood, Ryan Gossling, Bradley Cooper, Johnnie Depp and the list goes on.

Be a Big Baby:

Babies laugh 300 times a day, adults much less. Keaton intends to join the babies of the world and laugh more. Smiling is lovely, laughing is beauty. Diane respects women who are comfortable with themselves like Barbara Streisand keeping her original nose, Hillary Clinton, 63 year old swimmer Diana Nyad and Bossy Pants Tina Fey. Each has her own wrong she’s made right.
Keaton finds inspiration in the words of Robert Frost who said “home is a place that when you knock on a door they have to let you in”.

Happy 25th anniversary PBWC.

ABC 7 News Convention Coverage

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