Anything but “nice”: Recapping the Ad2MN Women’s Leadership Panel

Posted January 26, 2016 by swimcreative

To put the 4th annual Ad 2 MN Women’s Leadership Panel simply: it was not “nice.”

It was stunning.

The building, the women, the quotes, the camaraderie. From a guest panel full of women with diverse backgrounds to the hilarious commentary by moderator Nora McInerny Purmort of Still Kickin, the evening left all 600 of us at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis in stitches and more empowered than ever.

Photo by Jay Larson

The Guest Panel

  • Margaret Murphy, President and COO of Olson
  • Sue Kruskopf, CEO of Kruskopf & Company
  • Emily Pritchard, Co-founder and COO of The Social Lights
  • Mahtab Rezai, principal and CEO of Crux Collaborative
  • Rosemary Ugboajah, president of Neka Creative
  • Jill Gutterman, Global Digital Transformation Leader at 3M
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Kickass Woman of Life (JK, but her discussion on the pay gap came up so often, Nora pretended she was the surprise seventh panelist.)

Backed by news and stats on modern day inequality in the workplace, Nora led the guests through questions relevant to women of all ages. Topics included: “Why hasn’t equality been embraced?”; “How do we advocate for women?”; “How to say no?”; and “How do you become a leader?”

Each woman had great insights and advice and the two-hour panel flew by. Here are some of the best soundbites from the night.

T-Shirt-Worthy Wisdom

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“Don’t be a quitter. Be a chooser. You underestimate how much you learn & grow in the hard times.” – Margaret Murphy

“Find the leaders in your life and surround yourself with them.” – Emily Pritchard

“I wasn’t born fearless, I had to learn it.” – Rosemary Ugboajah

Sprinkled in between the words of wisdom were moments of magic. Nora asked all the men in the room to please stand up. Last year, there were about five. This year, almost 20% of the room (roughly 70) stood up to applause. Seeing both sexes engaged in a conversation dedicated to women was amazing. Then, there was the astounding dislike of the word “nice.” All six panelist strived not to be liked, but to do a great job and be respected for that.

“Be good, not nice. Be effective, not nice. Be competent, not nice.” – Mahtab Rezai

All in all, the entire evening slammed home that one smart, strong woman can accomplish anything, but a roomful learning from each other can change the entire outlook for the next generation.

Nora summed up the panel best:

“I like all those answers. Good job.”


Featured photo taken by Roy Son Photography

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