More than 100 prominent women leaders gained insight and inspiration at conference

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More than 100 of the area’s most prominent women leaders came to Lipscomb University on Friday, Oct. 15, for a day of insight, inspiration and networking. The “Women. Leadership. Faith.” conference, hosted by Lipscomb Dean Norma Burgess, was the College of Arts & Sciences’ inaugural workshop designed to empower women leaders.
Gloria Mayfield Banks
Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet
The diverse crowd heard insights on life’s priorities from Gloria Mayfield Banks, an elite executive senior national sales director with Mary Kay Inc; they were inspired by Navajo  Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet’s stories of power drawn from past generations of family; and enjoyed a Q & A  session led by Nicole Dunigan, founder of Coffee Talk Nashville.
Banks, who is currently within the top five Mary Kay sales directors worldwide, outlined the ABC’s of success to kick off the morning during the Coffee Talk session.
During the session with Dunigan, Banks noted that an entrepreneurial spirit is important for women because running their own businesses provides women with flexibility and control over their lives. Economic freedom allows women to “live a bigger, more flexible life,” and strong leaders rise out of that environment.
She commented that the numbers of women business owners in America is growing. Women need to identify where their passion lies and pursue that passion to build a successful life and career, she said.
Manuelito-Kerkvliet, the president of Antioch University Seattle and the first Native American woman to ascend to the presidency of an accredited university outside the tribal college system, told the audience about her family background. As the great, great granddaughter of Navajo Chief Manuelito, she came from one of the four leadership clans, which meant she had a “sacred contract” to be a leader even before she was born.
“Each one of you has a sacred contract to achieve a specific thing in life,” she said. “You may not know what it is yet.” But it’s that sacred contract that should fuel women’s efforts to succeed, she said.
Prominent women leaders in business, education, government, ministry, advocacy, nonprofit management and the arts conducted breakout sessions with interactive dialogue on topics including success in the workplace, in the home, faith-informed leadership strategies for women and incorporating faithful, authentic living into decision-making processes.
The conference was hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the College of Business, the Graduate School of Business and the Institute for Christian Spirituality. The Coffee Talk session was sponsored by Skanska.