Blog Post

From Iconic Dialogues to Empowering Insights: Highlights from the Women of Excellence Conference

By Krista Lindsey
September 28, 2023

This September, we hosted the Women of Excellence Conference, a marquee event dedicated to shining a spotlight on exceptional women who are redefining the workplace across various industries. We are delighted to share memorable moments, enlightening discussions, and the remarkable women who graced this event. From honoring companies championing women’s advancement to insightful workshops and a fireside chat with the legendary feminist icon Gloria Steinem, the event’s numerous and diverse takeaways remain with us, and we hope our sponsors and attendees feel the same way.

A Snapshot of the Conference

The Women of Excellence Summit showcased a rich and varied agenda focused on recognizing and learning from extraordinary women transforming today’s corporate landscape, while building a community and networking with like minds. Below you’ll find key takeaways from this year’s conference agenda:

Awards Ceremony

A pivotal moment of the event was the presentation of awards honoring Seramount’s 2023 Top Companies for Executive Women, including Women of Excellence making waves within their career and community and a special moment celebrating our Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Seramount’s own Betty Spence, Ph.D. These awards brought to light the significant advancements made by companies and individuals in championing women’s progress and cultivating a culture rich in equality and opportunity.

subha barry betty spence
Lifetime Achievement Award winner Betty Spence, Ph.D. pictured holding her award next to Seramount President Subha Barry.
Thrilled to have attended Seramount 's 2023 Women of Excellence Event - Liz Soto KPMG

Meaningful Breakout Sessions

Attendees had the opportunity to immerse themselves in impactful breakout sessions. These workshops tackled crucial topics such as overcoming imposter syndrome, mastering mindset shifts for mental health and self-care, developing personal branding and managing up.

Guest speaker Ceah Justice leading her CEO of YOU breakout session.
Guest speaker Ceah Justice leading her CEO of YOU breakout session.
I loved the CEO of YOU session By Ceah Justice- Julianna Parra

Fireside Chat with Gloria Steinem

This segment featured a powerful and insightful conversation with feminist icon, activist and speaker Gloria Steinem. Attendees had the unique opportunity to hear Steinem’s thoughts on a wide range of topics, from the importance of diverse representation to the challenges and triumphs of the women’s movement, offering a blend of historical perspective and forward-thinking vision. Below is a more detailed description of this engaging discussion.

Gloria Steinem on Championing Inclusive Futures and Rewriting Historic Narratives

Gloria Steinem, with her characteristic wit and candor, captivated the room, sharing insights and humorous anecdotes that only icons like her can provide. In conversation with Seramount President, Subha Barry, she explored her journey from a nomadic upbringing to becoming a champion for feminism, including co-founding Ms. Magazine, advocating for women’s rights, and reflecting on the foundational role of black women like Dorothy Pitman Hughes in the women’s movement. Gloria repeatedly emphasized the importance of diverse perspectives, stating, “We do not learn from sameness. We learn from being different,” urging for representation and inclusion.

Gloria Steinem and Seramount President Subha Barry pose for a picture following their inspirational fireside chat.
Gloria Steinem and Seramount President Subha Barry pose for a picture following their inspirational fireside chat.

Steinem recalled her enduring friendships with Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Wilma Mankiller, highlighting their unwavering power to influence, shared struggles and the overlooked contributions of Black women and Indigenous people on the women’s rights movement. Addressing the question of decolonizing history, she pointed out the necessity of recognizing the rich histories and civilizations that existed in America long before the arrival of Europeans. She spoke passionately about the importance of intersectionality, the need for resilience, and the significance of sustaining hope in trying times, stating, “Hope is a form of planning. If we didn’t think it would happen, we wouldn’t ‘hope’ it. It gives [us] courage to go forward.”

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes recreate their iconic photo symbolizing solidarity in the fight for justice and equality.

Left photo credit: Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, New York 1971 © Dan Wynn Archive and Farmani Group, Co LTD.
Right photo credit: Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Daniel Bagan, 2013, Museum of the City of New York, gift of Daniel Bagan, 2018.32.1

Gloria’s reflections covered a broad spectrum of topics, from the power dynamics in women’s organizations to the importance of laughter and hope. When asked about feminine leadership, she expressed her hope for a world where leaders exemplify integrity, bridging the gap between words and actions. She stressed the importance of building and sustaining rainbow coalitions and addressed the changing landscape of the feminist movement and reproductive rights, emphasizing that being part of change is not a sacrifice but a blessing, and it’s “fan-effing-tastic.”

tyra orange quote

Concluding the fireside chat, Gloria Steinem left the audience with a trove of insights and wisdom, drawing from both historical struggles and personal experiences, while instilling a sense of collective purpose and hope in the ongoing fight for equality and justice.

The day concluded with a sense of renewed purpose, a deeper understanding of unity, resilience, and the unwavering belief in change.

Reflecting on the wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and empowerment gleaned from this year’s event, We extend a warm invitation to individuals and organizations to sponsor and register for our 2024 events. By participating, you not only gain valuable insights from luminaries like Gloria Steinem but also actively support and contribute to the vital work we undertake at Seramount to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Towards that end, we are excited to announce that nominations for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award are opening soon.

Join us as we continue to celebrate and elevate those who have dedicated their lives to making meaningful strides in equality and justice. Together we can make the upcoming events a platform for progress and a beacon of hope for a more inclusive future.

Gloria Steinem pictured with Seramount leaders and Women of Excellence attendees.

About the Author

Krista Lindsey
Krista Lindsey
Associate Director, Product Marketing