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Quicken Loans National hosts second annual Executive Women's Day

June 26, 2014

By Pam Chvotkin, Special to

BETHESDA, Md.- In its second year, Executive Women’s Day at the newly rebranded Quicken Loans National near Washington, D.C., didn’t disappoint.

Opening remarks by Amber Fulton, PGA TOUR Senior Manager of Tournament Activation and Outreach for Executive Women’s Day, welcomed guests into Congressional Country Club’s lavish clubhouse located in Bethesda, Md. Moderator Jummy Olabanji from ABC7/WJLA-TV moderated the impressive power panel, complete with a full buffet breakfast for the women.

Fostering the themes of empowering women, confidence, health and overall well-being, Astellas’, a pharmaceutical company that promotes health and wellness, is the perfect partner to sponsor this kind of event.

The panel included Shawn Krause, Executive Vice President of Quicken Loans; Stacy Schwartz, Vice President of Public Safety at AT&T Government Solutions (AGS); Stephanie Hill, Vice President & General Manager of Information Systems & Global Solutions Civil Business at Lockheed Martin; and Susan Lawrence, Senior Vice President at Booz-Allen Hamilton.

They shared insight on mistakes they have made in their careers and questions we want answers to, but might not be in the right mindset to ask them. There were bullet points that Olabanji suggested for discussion including, finding those moments when you need to have a ‘gut check’ and identifying the work/life balance, or what all the panelists suggested, “just balance.”

All of the panelists gave insight into what has worked and failed in their own careers and how you could apply that knowledge moving forward. Stephanie Hill was adamant about not making the idea of “balancing” a serious issue. As mothers, professionals in their careers, women often have to juggle having a personal life with their friends and families, while being prominent in the work place. She added, “Not every boundary is a limitation, some are, but don’t get them confused. Use them to learn and grow.”

Shawn Krause added, that happiness is the key to success, but it is important to not focus solely on goals. “Times change, things change, be aware of the art of opportunity.”

An interesting question was asked of the panelists, “What have you personally achieved in your career that you would have considered ‘making something happen’?” Stacy Schwartz stated, “Creating high-performing teams.” Having had the opportunity to assemble a team is successful on different levels. I was able to identify the skills that not only compete with the job but they can intersect and compliment one another to best achieve the goals that are established.”

When Olabanji asked, from a leadership perspective, their thoughts about United States soccer head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s comments prior to the start of the World Cup. Klinsmann made headlines after saying it’s “unrealistic” to expect the United States to win the World Cup. The panel appeared to experience mixed feelings. Krause said she didn’t mind the comments because all styles of how people lead are different. She suggested that it might be his way of running his team and it works for them. Some leaders are tough and want to play more of a serious role than an optimistic one. She added that it isn’t her style but she respects others for theirs and doesn’t have a problem with it. Both Stephanie Hill and Susan Lawrence disagreed with his mindset. They both felt that as leaders, they should always encourage. That it isn’t about perfection, but as a team, its important to work hard enough to figure out what you are capable of. Susan chimed in with a quote from the movie, ‘Remember The Titans’, “Attitude reflects leadership.”

The panel continued with questions asked to the group, such as, “define what success means to you.” and then opened up to everyone for questions. All attendees were given notepads and pens to jot down quotes and take notes during the discussion.

PGA TOUR player caddy Clay Duerson came by to share some stories (and laughs) with the group. At the conclusion of the panel, attendees experienced an “Inside the Ropes” look at the course at Quicken Loans National. They spoke with people from the Tiger Woods Foundation, course/turf management on sponsorship, charity and even the role and responsibilities of a PGA TOUR caddy.

The most inspiring part of the day came when Carla Harris, Managing Director and National Women’s Business Council chairperson for Morgan Stanley, the keynote speaker, shared her story. She engaged the attendees and offered valuable lessons that empowered, informed and inspired everyone to the fullest extent. She gave real life examples that were easily relatable and pearls of helpful information, including networking to advance your life and career. Harris explained that in order to achieve your goals, asking for help is necessary, and will work, if done correctly. What good is a network if you don’t use it? She gave the example of someone she had mentored that had reached out to her to follow up on a job lead he had been pursuing. She made the call on his behalf, and the situation worked out in his favor. He called her as soon as he received his job offer to thank her for her assistance. She reminded him that it was his persistence and follow through that landed him the job, not her phone call. He identified the need for help, reaching into his network and communicating to assist in making things happen.

Copies of the book ‘Expect To Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace,’ were signed and given to all in attendance courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

At the end of her keynote speech, as requested by a participant, Harris, also a gospel singer, shared a tune and encouraged the audience to sing along. She received a standing ovation for her presentation. The remainder of the day circulated into the back room and terrace of the clubhouse, where guests were encouraged to meet others and network.

The PGA TOUR offers Executive Women’s Days at several large tournaments of the course of the season, and will expand to 35 tournaments in 2015. You can tee up the conversation all year by following their Facebook page, their account on twitter, @PGATOURWoman and using the hashtag #PGATourWoman to engage with others.

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