Category: Momentum News

Any news related to Momentum alumnae, events, accomplishments, etc!

Petite Can Mean Powerful

Deborah Boswell, long-time President of Professional Speech Services of Alabama, spoke at last week’s Intentional Tuesdays event about the power of your voice. As a woman who measures over five feet tall on a good day, I was ready for this presentation with my trusty pen to take notes. Deborah mentioned some key takeaways that you probably haven’t heard before. Here’s the rundown:

  • Focus on your breath. You don’t have to scream to be loud! Try to talk from your diaphragm instead of your throat or chest to command the room.
  • When you’re nervous, you probably have shallow breath. Take some deep inhales and exhales before a presentation. Personally, I listen to a Lizzo song or some words of encouragement from Brene Brown. You can view some more mindfulness resources here.
  • First impressions count. Think about your posture and what you’re wearing. I have been moved mid-presentation because multiple people thought I was breaking out in hives. Turns out, I was just nervous, so now I wear a turtleneck.
  • Be concise. No one likes a long meeting that could have been summed up in a quick email. Executives don’t have a lot of time on their hands, and the average person’s attention span, according to research by Microsoft, is shorter than eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish.
  • BLUF. Don’t bluff, but keep the Bottom Line Up Front. Capture their attention at the beginning so they stay with you for important information.
  • Conjunction junction, what’s your function? Diluting clarity, according to Deborah. Break up your sentences.
  • If you are the expert, behave like the expert! Stay confident; you’ve got this.

Wish you hadn’t missed Deborah’s presentation? Want to watch it again? Check out our new Youtube channel for her presentation and others!

Leadership Programs in AL

Momentum was featured in Bham Now’s list of leadership development programs you can apply to now in Birmingham! We are currently accepting applications for our Executive Class until April 30. This 9-month program develops leadership skills, confidence, and connections among Alabama’s most promising women. It begins this September!

With a combination of 360° assessment testing, following a personal leadership plan, co-mentoring, and expertise from top leaders, the curriculum is designed to:

  • Provide tools and resources to inspire and educate women to serve in leadership roles
  • Network these leaders to learn and work on problems together
  • Enhance the image of executive women in business and community
  • Attract and retain the nation’s brightest women to help solve business and community challenges

Dr. Lisa Graham and Dr. Julie McDonald were also featured in the article for their Dare to Lead workshop, based on Brené Brown’s research. These inspiring women created their business with the singular goal of helping professionals flourish at work and in life. They led a breakout session at our Vision 2020 Conference in March.

Momentum at Pepper Place Market

Join us this Saturday, November 9th, at  The Market at Pepper Place! Momentum will have a table at the market to raise awareness about our programs and future events.

We’ll be registering people to win free tickets to our January leadership series workshop: Keys to Personal Bandwidth with Julie McDonald and Lisa Graham. The  workshop is a great opportunity for professionals, both men and women, to learn how to maximize their resources to create a more sustainable, effective, and productive work life.

Registration for Momentum’s 2020 Biennial Conference will also be available. The growing event is set to meet an all-time participation high with attendance expected to be near 1,500 professionals from across the state!

Make sure to stop by Momentum’s table 8 am-12 pm while you shop the market. Students from UAB’s School of Communications will be passing out complimentary cookies and tell you all about Momentum!

We would like to hear your feedback! Comment below if you plan to come by the market this Saturday, attend the leadership series in January, and/or attend the conference in March.

Building Gender Equity at Work

Momentum held the first of its 2019-2020 Leadership Series this month. Susan Hodgkinson, Leadership Development Expert and best-selling author of The Dignity Mindset: A Leader’s Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work, was invited to hold a workshop discussing key themes from her book on achieving gender equity in the workplace.

The workshop was part of Momentum’s Leadership Series which is designed to offer men and women professional development opportunities with events occurring quarterly throughout the year. Hosted at Encompass Health, the event started with networking and breakfast before diving into the concept of gender equity.

Hodgkinson outlined two reasons why gender equity is not normalized in today’s culture. One, starting at a young age our brains become engendered by societal ideas of what it means to be female or male. Hodgkinson uses the well-known statement “you throw like a girl” to beg the question, what is the story that we are teaching about gender? Statements like these often portray “female characteristics” as weak in comparison to “male characteristics,” teaching women and girls that they are inferior. Two, the depiction of women as objects whose main purpose is to appease men is pervasive in our culture and the media. Hodgkinson cited vivid cases portraying inauthentic representations or no representation of women at all.

Hodgkinson challenged attendees to apply the Bechdel test to the films of today which measures female depictions in works of fiction. The test only requires a film to have at least two women characters whose names are made clear in the film, and converse with each other about something other than a man. According to Duke Research Blog, only 40-50% of U.S. films from 2015-2017 fail the Bechdel test, which is surprising considering the simple requirements needed to pass. The lack of female representation in media is just as concerning. Only 10% of voluntary contributors to Wikipedia are women, and only about 17% of the 1.5 million biographies in English are about women.

Feelings of inferiority cause a major problem in the workplace. In what is called the “Confidence Gap,” data show that women are less self-assured than men, and more likely to have Imposter Syndrome. So what steps can we take to resolve this concern and establish gender equity? Outlining seven tools to create gender equity through a dignity-driven culture, Hodgkinson makes it clear that the change is mostly up to business leaders. In order to create a dignity-driven culture, leaders must recognize that every team member has the same fundamental needs and choose to fulfill them. Leaders must also make space for the voices of women and people of color to be heard, and seek to increase their presence when there is a lack of diversity in business spaces.

Read Susan Hodgkinson’s book, The Dignity Mindset: A Leader’s Guide to Building Gender Equity at Work, to learn more about leading from a dignity-driven mindset.

To participate in the next Leadership Series event, register now for The Key to Personal Bandwidth workshop on January 9th, 2019 at Samford University.

We would like to hear your feedback! Comment below with your thoughts on gender equity and how you see it, or where it’s lacking, in the workplace.

Alivia Moore is a junior Public Relations student at UAB

 

April Benetollo Joins Bronze Valley Board of Directors

Bronze Valley recently added a new member to its board of directors. April Benetollo, CEO of Momentum, a program for developing leadership capabilities in executive and early-career women, was elected to the board at the end of September.

“April is an outstanding addition to our board,” said Bronze Valley President Neill S. Wright. “Her background as a leader in supporting entrepreneurship, encouraging innovation and working to expand opportunities for women translates well to helping us achieve the mission and objectives of Bronze Valley.”

Benetollo sees her role on the Bronze Valley board as a dual opportunity. First, she cites several statistics that bear out what she terms the “major biases against women founders” that Bronze Valley exists to help erase — for example, in 2017, only 2.2 percent of all U.S. venture capital money went to women-owned companies — as well as the opportunity to further develop the organization’s investment tracks around minority founders and innovation. Second, she’s pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of Birmingham’s ongoing emergence as a technology and entrepreneurial hub.

“More and more,” Benetollo says, “people are figuring out that, if you’re looking at the South, you don’t have to go to Atlanta or Austin or Nashville to work for a growing technology company. That’s exciting, and so is the future of Bronze Valley. It’s surely something that is needed, and I’m happy to have a role in the investments they make and the coaching and expertise they provide to startups and growing companies. Hopefully, Bronze Valley will inspire other entities and individuals to that level of involvement.”

A native of Birmingham and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama, Benetollo spent several years working in Paris before returning to Birmingham with her husband, Emmanuel, in 1998. A frequent speaker on leadership development, employee engagement, healthy teams, inclusive culture and emotional intelligence, Benetollo is a founding board member of TechAlabama, a nonprofit organization affiliated with TechBirmingham that is dedicated to developing STEM skills and increasing the number of Alabamians who pursue STEM-based careers. She also serves on the Marketing and Sales Advisory Board for the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business and is on the advisory board of Bronze Valley portfolio company Mixtroz.

Read the full release here.

Power Up! Summer Intern Event Was High Energy

Summer is a time for students, and this year Momentum teamed up with Alabama Power to host a half-day of professional development, designed especially for college student interns.

The day got started with a four-person panel featuring senior-level women from Alabama Power, Protective Life, and Regions Bank. Following the panel, Momentum alumnae and managers from Southern Company hosted round-table discussions on ten different topics, such as negotiation, work-life management, and career progression.

The event was the brainchild of Giuli Biondi Williams, campus recruiter for Southern Company. She approached Momentum about partnering for the event. Momentum decided to incorporate the idea into the quarterly Momentum Leadership Series.

With the combined resources of Alabama Power and the Momentum alumnae network on the event logistics, such as the event space, speakers, content, marketing and registration came together in just a under a month. All 120 seats filled in just two weeks. Our future leaders are clearly ready to jump-start their careers! Participants came from companies large and small, such as Protective Life,  Encompass Health, Regions Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, UAB, Brasfield & Gorrie, Oakworth Capital,  Pack Health, and Peritus PR, just to name a few.

 

Thanks to the generous support of Alabama Power and all of Momentum’s program sponsors, there was no cost to attend the event.

Event organizers have already received great feedback from participants:

“Friday’s professional development event was amazing. Thank you for working with Guili to make it possible. I love the mission of Momentum and the intentional investment in women. My favorite part was getting to hear from the panel of women and then hearing interns ask in depth questions. I am always excited for new opportunities to network and I look forward to future events with Momentum.”

“This event was a great professional development opportunity as well as a great networking opportunity. I’m so thankful I got to meet so many women who have the same aspirations as I do!”

“I loved the panel and the panelists! From a college-aged, about-to-graduate-and-start-her-career, female intern, I thought it was very interesting and noteworthy to listen to other female leaders that have been working for a long time who had advice and stories to give. Listening to real workplace advice from real leaders is inspiring!”

While we can’t recreate the entire event in blog format, we can dedicate the next few posts to covering the most popular topics at the event. All of the topics are relevant at all career levels, so feel free to share and comment.

Here’s to a fun and productive summer.

Bring in the Men

Part of Momentum’s strategic plan is to expand our efforts to involve men as advocates for women in leadership. We call it “Men with Momentum.” Recently the committee in charge of this initiative designated two representatives from their companies to attend a work group meeting on diversity and inclusion initiatives, graciously hosted by Encompass Health and facilitated by Momentum alumnae Anne Marie Seibel and Crissy Carlisle.

During the workshop participants from BBVA, Bradley, Encompass Health, Protective Life, Southern Research Institute, and UAB shared the metrics and data their companies examine to measure effectiveness of diversity and inclusion programs. Encompass Health and BBVA Compass both presented the data warehouses and reporting tools they use to track metrics such as demographics, hiring outcomes, satisfaction ratings, and retention scores. Beyond the data, the group discussed practices that lead to better outcomes in terms of on-boarding, career advancement, awareness training, and measuring impact.

By the end of our session one thing was very clear: everyone in the room would benefit from regularly scheduled sessions to share experiences. Working together to determine inclusion practices that get results will produce far greater gains than trying get there alone. Momentum is proud to serve as a facilitator and resource for this important work. Our committee will meet again in November to discuss next steps, and you can count on seeing more news about Men with Momentum in 2019!

 

 

 

 

Two Powerful Keynotes in One Day

Momentum is excited to bring two amazing and inspiring women to the Birmingham community as our keynote speakers at the February 28th leadership conference.

Luncheon keynote Carey Lohrenz is the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy. Breakfast keynote Bonnie St. John is the first African-American to bring home medals in the Winter Paralympic games.

Our conference theme, Better Together │ Uniting Leaders, will be well-supported by these speakers.

 

Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win in one of the highest pressure, extreme environments imaginable: in the cockpit at Mach 2. Having flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy pilot, Lohrenz is used to working in fast moving, dynamic environments, where inconsistent execution can generate catastrophic results. The same challenges are found in business: markets change, customer needs evolve and if you do not adapt quickly your company is at risk.

Carey’s experience in the all-male environment of fighter aviation allow her to deliver insight and guidance from a wide range of leadership perspectives, with broad appeal to women and men in the audience.

 

Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, Bonnie St. John became the first African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

In recognition of this historic achievement, St. John was quoted on millions of Starbucks coffee cups and was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush. In addition to her success as a Paralympic athlete, she is a best-selling author of seven books. St. John’s most recent book, Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive and Energy, outlines a quick, easy and immediately effective program of tools and techniques to give you a competitive edge in today’s dynamic world of changes and challenges.

Online registration for the conference is open now, with early bird rates through January 5th.  There are group discounts for tables of eight, so bring your team or passionate professionals in your personal network.  Seating is limited and is expected to sell out.

Momentum has received generous funding from two Benefactor sponsors to secure the keynote speakers: UAB Medicine and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. The keynote speakers will be presented by conference co-chairs, Dr. Cheri Canon from UAB Medicine and Laura Oberst from Wells Fargo.

Dr. Canon is Professor and Chair of Radiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Dr. Canon received the American Board of Radiology’s (ABR) Lifetime Service Award in 2013, and was appointed to the ABR Board of Trustees in 2016. Dr. Canon is a graduate of Momentum’s 2006-07 class, is President Elect of the Momentum Alumnae Program Board of Directors, and a Scholarship member of Momentum’s Honor Roll of Women’s Leadership.  “My Momentum experience was transformative,” says Canon. “The program instilled in me the value of mentorship and a desire to advance women leaders; this conference provides the perfect platform for that.”

 

Laura Oberst is an Executive Vice President and head of Wells Fargo Bank’s Business Banking Group. Based in Minneapolis, she oversees more than 4,700 team members at 450 locations in 41 U.S. states.  Laura serves on the board of directors for HealthPartners, Inc., the Greater MSP Economic Development Partnership, and the North Dakota Trade Office.  A long-standing supporter of developing women’s careers, she has been actively involved in Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable and Deloitte’s 100 Wise Women initiative.  In 2015, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awarded Laura its Women in Business award.

 

We are honored to have these highly accomplished women to serve as our 2018 conference co-chairs. Our co-chairs play a vital role in the success of the conference, from keynote selection and conference planning, to addressing our 800 conference attendees during the event. Cheri Canon and Laura Oberst will certainly deliver with a balance of graciousness and gravitas!

Nominations for Woman of Impact Award

Who do you think of when you think of outstanding women leaders in Alabama? Momentum wants to know! As we prepare for our biennial conference, to be held at the BJCC February 27th and 28th, we have opened the call for nominations for the Woman of Impact awards.

We all know of a woman who meets the criteria. Let us know who you would like to see honored with this prestigious award of achievement! Criteria and nomination forms can be found here.

Raising visibility into the contributions of the many great female leaders in our state is a key part of Momentum’s mission. Most women tend to downplay personal achievement and give credit instead to their mentors, colleagues and teams.

The concept of women promoting themselves defies cultural norms according to this post. In another article published by the Harvard Business Review, many women must experience a “fundamental identity shift” before they can promote themselves. One helpful approach is for women to focus on the personal experiences that helped them achieve their goals rather than focusing on the relationships that supported them. Recognizing outstanding women on their own merits inspires future leaders, both women and men.

Momentum’s renowned past award winners come from many different roles, industries, and backgrounds. Their bios are ready to impress. You can read more about each winner by clicking on their photos. In this video, four of our sixteen past honorees speak briefly about their respective experiences, challenges and accomplishments.

Women in Alabama deserve recognition for their many accomplishments. To advocate for the promotion of women, nominate a woman you know to receive the esteemed Woman of Impact award, then join Momentum for the ceremony to honor the winners on February 27th! Registration will begin in October.