The Hawthorne offices were bustling Monday night as we hosted four esteemed Chicago women at a panel discussion titled The View from the Other Side of the Glass Ceiling; A Conversation on Leadership. Our President, Cynthia McCafferty, moderated an engaging panel discussion with Bridget Gainer, VP of Global Affairs for Aon and 10th District Commissioner for the Cook County Board; Marilynn Gardner, CEO & President of Navy Pier Inc.; Lori Healey, CEO of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA); and Pam McDonough, President & CEO of Alliance for Industry & Manufacturing.
The event featured lively conversation about women in leadership and the challenges that still exist for both current and aspiring female executives, and a Q&A with the audience and panel.
While acknowledging that progress has certainly been made when it comes to women ascending to positions of power, the panel agreed that there is still work to be done. Pam noted that in a construction or real estate environment, it's fairly common to see only a few women in large meetings of decision makers, and Bridget mentioned that even with a woman possibly reaching the Oval Office in January, there needs to be more women competing for and landing influential political and public service roles. Lori and Marilynn both touched on the role of mentors, noting that mentors come in many shapes and forms, and sometimes the best mentors can be the toughest.
There was vigorous discussion among the panel and audience related to the Millennial generation addressing issues such as the increased acceptance of parental leave for fathers and mothers, the lack of enthusiasm among Millennial women for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and whether, in the eyes of some, feminism is still relevant.
Notable quotes from the panelists included:
“Will our daughters think that the battle is over for women?”
“We have to do a better job retelling women’s history to the next generation.”
“Mentorships come in different ways, some harsh, some not, but they work.”
“Childcare is not a women’s issue, it is a family and economic development issue.”
“Cohorts and support in the workplace are necessary to lend women and minorities a place to discuss issues.”
Hawthorne's next event will be in May and feature a panel discussion around The Evolving Media Landscape: Good? Bad? Unknown? Be sure to sign up HERE for our newsletter for event details!