Friday, June 10, 2011

Words of Wisdom from our Welcome Breakfast

Congratulations to our Edie Hunt Award winners, Kima McCoy and Katie Herrmann! They were honored at our welcome breakfast this morning, sponsored by Goldman Sachs. (Watch this space for forthcoming video interviews with Kima and Katie as they embark on the next exciting chapter of their careers!) The always-inspiring Edie Hunt herself was present (Edie was the first first board chair of Forté Foundation, and oversees talent management at Goldman Sachs) and Alison Mass, Co-Head of Financial Sponsors Group at Goldman Sachs delivered the keynote.

Alison spoke about how, having been in the industry for 30 years, she has "always been in the minority", so seeing so many women gathered together (this year's conference is the largest in Forté's history!) is fantastic. She talked about the ups and downs in financial services over her long career, and how those highs and lows have made the industry stronger. She was eloquent about her love of the job ("Being part of an industry inextricably linked to the health of the US economy is always stimulating," she said), and the art of achieving work/life balance.

Judging from our Twitter feed (@fortefoundation #mbaconf), many women in the audience were struck by Alison's concept of the "weighted average work week": a philosophy driven by the realization that its not possible to be outstanding in every aspect of one's life every day, but it is possible to master the art of living by seeking an overall balance. Alison is a great example of such balance: married and the mother of twins, she still manages to have dinner with her parents every Sunday night, spends "at least 20 days a year" on the ski slopes, and makes time to serve on the boards of several charitable organizations.

Alison concluded with a reminder of the importance of relationships. "Every career opportunity I've ever had has been the direct result of a relationship I've cultivated over time," she observed. Her reminder to "love your work and make time to connect with the people around you" painted a portrait of leadership that inspired many of the women in the audience.

Stay tuned for more coverage from our Dialogue with Leadership, coming up this afternoon.

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