Bullock: ‘It is an exciting time to be a woman in business’
It is an exciting time to be a woman in business.
These words emphasize the sentiment that spread though this year’s #GoizuetaENGAGE conference. Hundreds of women and men hustled inside to seek shelter from the winter flurries in anticipation of a day filled with inspiration, networking and knowledge. Alumni, students, prospective students, faculty and other Goizueta family members gathered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown to attend the second annual Emory University ENGAGE conference in December.
Dean Erika James said it best as she kicked off the event: “This is a celebration.”
A celebration of people who care about the future and about each other. Typically, when attending a conference, the expectation is to join a few sessions, gain some hit or miss information and maybe exchange a few business cards with the hope of a future opportunity. Goizueta’s annual conference is special and unique because every attendee has a shared experience and a common mission. The conference is not solely a place for Goizueta women to gather but rather an opportunity to gain knowledge, spread awareness, meet like-minded people and celebrate successes in personal and professional life.
Let’s start with the shared experience that leads to a connection. A Goizueta education is one rooted in community and support for one another. In the first session, I met an alumna who later joined us during lunch. At one table I found myself sitting among current Full-Time students, recent alumna and prospective students. Three generations of Goizueta women connecting to share interests in a mutually beneficial way. The frequency and ease of the circumstance was one that was special, not only because these connections were happening at every table across the giant conference center but because each meeting felt natural and authentic.
We’ve focused on opportunity cost in a few classes recently; in its basic form, this is the economic idea that with every choice you are giving up the benefits of something else. Each attendee could have chosen another way to spend this winter Friday leading up to the holidays. Instead, every person selected to engage in a day where they could meet someone or learn something that might fuel workplace equality to create an opportunity in the future. We had all taken one more step to support a workforce where differences are recognized, celebrated and nurtured as strengths.
Keynote Andrew Davis 08WEMBA, global chief diversity and inclusion officer at The Coca-Cola Company, summarized the hopes of all the ENGAGE conference attendees in one statement: “Maybe we won’t have to have the ENGAGE conference for years to come because we can stop having this conversation.” Maybe we won’t need to have the ENGAGE conference in years to come, but we will always want to have each other. I have been very fortunate to have wonderful mentors and networks to support my career growth and personal development, and I see no end to the possibilities of powerful men and women supporting each other in an environment of mutual respect, inclusion and promotion.
Regardless, something tells me that even if we are fully satisfied with the inclusion landscape in the workplace, this motivated and successful group of leaders will find another purpose to network and unite behind. After all, it is an exciting time to be a woman in the workplace.