Women in Consumer Electronics (CE), an organization focused on empowering women, building networks, and supporting career opportunities in the consumer electronics industry, provided a full house of participants with valuable industry perspectives and solid career advice during CE Week.
Featuring inspiring talks by Kay Koplovitz, chairman and co-founder of Springboard Enterprises, “Ideapreneur” Sam Horn, and bestselling-author and TV co-host Mika Brzezinski, the second annual Women in CE Career Enhancement Forum entitled “Empower Your Entrepreneurial Spirit” provided attendees with uplifting sessions geared at augmenting professional empowerment, promoting business success, and sharing best practices from the CE community.
In a survey conducted the week after the event, more than 50-percent of the sold-out event’s attendees were new to the forum. All of the respondents said they will attend the 2014 Forum.
“There were so many great ideas and information that came out of this dynamic one-day event,” said Maureen Jenson, editor-in-chief, Technology Integrator. “As participants, we left inspired, invigorated, and more empowered to think big about how our roles affect the industry. Revisiting our respective professional and personal goals, we have enormous momentum going forward thanks to a truly uplifting event.”
Kay Koplovitz, the forum’s opening speaker, launched the conference with a powerhouse keynote address, which focused on inspiring women entrepreneurs to be more ambitious when growing their companies. During the session, she shared case studies and particular business insights from Springboard Enterprises—an organization that selects, trains, and presents women-led companies to raise venture capital. Koplovitz is the founder of USA Networks, The SYFY Channel, and an entrepreneur, having held such titles as chairman of the board, Fifth & Pacific (Formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.); chairman and CEO, Koplovitz & Company; and chairman and co-founder, Springboard Enterprises. In 1998, President Clinton appointed Koplovitz to chair the bipartisan National Women’s Business Council.
The forum’s closing keynote was delivered by Mika Brzezinski, who discussed how today’s successful women have achieved their deserved recognition and financial worth in the workplace. The New York Times bestselling author of “Knowing Your Value” and the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” inspired the audience with insights into equal pay issues, women in the boardroom, and candid personal tales on what it takes to achieve your goals. The talk also provided a memorable conclusion to the forum by inviting an audience member onstage to determine her true worth and discover her authentic voice.
“The Women in CE conference has given me an entirely new perspective on my career,” stated Debbie Durden, residential strategic marketing manager, AMX. “I have never felt such camaraderie within an industry-related community, where we learned the importance of recognizing our individual worth and gaining courage from our collective influence as women. We spoke frankly about how to achieve respect in the workplace and I feel very motivated in harnessing this passion going forward.”
Also on the agenda was the return of Sam Horn, author of POP!, who presented a session titled “OWN IT! How to Give and Get the Respect You Deserve.” Featured on MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com, Fastcompany.com, and in The New York Times, she provided the audience with concrete methodologies for communicating with confidence, approaches for increasing their influence within the marketplace, and how to obtain specific, desired results.
Other one-of-a-kind workshops included Springboard Enterprise’s “Dolphin Tank.” Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprises, adapted its popular Dolphin Tank workshop for Women in CE where audience members presented their business challenges and growth opportunities to an experienced panel of experts. The session delivered a vision-expanding experience on valuable considerations to help take any business to the next level. Guest panelists included Angela Lee, founder of 37 Angels Investment Network; Sandra Kresch, president of PSD International; Debra Filtzer, American Express Merchant Services; and Sandra Benedetto, director of product management at THX Ltd.
Additionally, a highlight of the forum was “The Merits of Mentoring” panel, which addressed the benefits of solid mentorship for both mentors and mentees of any age or stage of their careers. Maureen Jenson, editor-in-chief of Technology Integrator, Tell, and CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles moderated the panel. Panelists included Jeannette Howe, executive director, Specialty Electronics Nationwide; Katy Papadopoulos, director of all things creative at SheLuvsTech; Andrea Smith, an award-winning news and technology journalist; and Petro Shimonishi, global business team leader for headphones at D&M Holdings Inc.
“The Women in CE Forum has fueled new ambitions in both my professional and personal life,” said Marcia Barahona, marketing manager, trade shows and events, Core Brands. “Unlike conferences where presenters offer only slight variations on a common narrative, this gathering has given us practical tools and winning strategies that are easy to sustain beyond the context of the conference. I am excited to apply these new approaches to my objectives and am already looking forward to next year’s event.”
Sponsors of the Women in CE Career Enhancement Forum included Monster, Inc.; Core Brands: ATON, BlueBOLT, ELAN, Furman, Niles, Panamax, Proficient, SpeakerCraft, Sunfire, Xantech; Klipsch; Crestron; Atlona; Mack Worldwide Warranty; Velodyne; Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); American Express Open; DEOS; Crimson; Lutron; SiriusXM; Polk Audio; Azione; Bedrock Learning; Consumer Technology Publishing Group (CTPG): Technology Integrator, Dealerscope, Home Entertainment Source (HES), Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA); Specialty Electronics Nationwide (SEN); Springboard Enterprises; Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA); and InfoComm International.