A mild spring Friday: the perfect day for 700 hundred+ business women to gather downtown for the Third Annual Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium at Cobo Center in Detroit. The mantra for the day — learn, connect, grow — was ever present and had the grand ballroom buzzing with excitement. Leading the day was guidance from Mallika Chopra on how to live with intent — really identify who we are, what we want, how we can serve, and what we’re grateful for. (We also learned of the abounding positive effects of having a regular book club — even if reading the book was completely optional.)

The next segment of the day featured Crystal Washington, technology strategist, who provided the admittedly time-starved group with ways in which to be even more efficient with our days and getting us to move beyond the mindset of “If you want it done correctly, you’ve got to do it yourself.”

Finally, the day wrapped with keynote speaker Geena Davis: Oscar winner, Mensa member, who became a competitive archer and an Olympic champion. With the minds of the room already opened by Chopra (it really is amazing what a one-minute meditation session can do), Davis enlightened us all with a staggering number: 17%. Not only was this the number of women in crowd scenes in movies, it was also very comparable to the level of female participation elsewhere in life: political/governmental roles, media, print journalism, engineering, Fortune 500 leadership … the list goes on. This is not what 700 women expected to hear and it was eye opening. Although heads were shaking and disappointment was palpable, the energy this created was very real. I suspect the subsequent conversations and actions post-event will be very reflective of the day, learning to identify what and what does not serve us well, a better way to connect ourselves to what is around us, and to help grow the opportunities for women.

Tiffany Sherwood
Senior Account Manager