MGM Resorts Foundation held its eighth Women’s Leadership Conference this week at the MGM Grand to the apparent delight of Southern Nevada women. The organization had to cut off registration the day before the event started, and during the closing luncheon, a sizeable portion of the 800-plus attendees broke into a spontaneous celebratory performance of the Cupid Shuffle.
These snippets, from the final panel discussion moderated by Edelman executive Gail Becker, hint at the origin of their enthusiasm: two days packed with inspirational stories and calls to action.
Q: HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THE CURRENT BUSINESS LANDSCAPE FOR WOMEN?
“We have two things we have to do as women: No. 1, bring other women along. Every successful woman should find at least two others younger than her in her field to mentor. And No. 2, increase sponsorship. Ten years ago I wouldn't be sitting here because I wouldn't have had the courage to ask for help. Ask for help. Men do it; women should do it too.” — Suzan Kereere, senior VP and general manager, American Express
“To clarify: Sponsorship happens when you're not in the room. Somebody who knows you hears of a position and puts you forward for it.” — Becker
Q: WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN WHEN YOU GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE?
“I would tell my younger self, ‘Live your life. Live the life that’s right for you. Don’t try to live someone else’s life. Be bold enough to ask for what you want and to do what you want to do.’” — Susan Gambardella, former senior marketing VP for Coca-Cola North America
“I wish someone would have told me to remember to take care of yourself. ... You forget about your well-being, emotional, spiritual and physical. In a leadership position, if you're not taking care of yourself, the people around you can see that. I have family all over the state, and we're half Mexican, half Sicilian, so we celebrate everything. I’m more productive back in the work world when I take time to do that.” — Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada Attorney General
Q: WHAT’S YOUR THIRD METRIC FOR SUCCESS, BEYOND MONEY AND POWER?
“The third metric came into place for me when my husband and I decided to have kids and that he’d stay home. That allowed me to lose the guilt of continuing to work. Not everybody has that luxury, but it allowed me to think beyond work.” — Gambardella
“This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, because this is my last term as attorney general. I’ll be out in January, in case anyone’s looking. … In my world, I define success as, have I made a difference.” — Cortez Masto
Q: DO YOU HAVE A BAD HABIT YOU HAD TO DROP, LIKE THE “SORRY” IN PANTENE’S RECENT AD CAMPAIGN THAT WENT VIRAL?
“How about when you’re sitting in a meeting and you’re formulating a good point in your head, and waiting for the right moment or for it to be perfect, and then someone else makes it? Don’t miss the opportunity.” — Gambardella
Q: SHARE A SAMPLE FAILURE AND HOW YOU BOUNCED BACK.
“My first week in aviation, I discovered they speak only in acronyms. I couldn't understand anything. I barely knew what FAA stood for. At one meeting, they started talking about vertical transportation. I was 45 minutes into meeting before I knew they were talking about elevators. We laugh about it now. I'm still there, and I'm director.” — Rosemary Vasilliadis, Clark County Director of Aviation