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Regional Women Business Leaders Talk Leading with Purpose

“Purpose is not a goal we can check off as ‘completed,’ but it is a guiding light to how we should be living our lives,” said The Cabinet Studio’s Leigh Ann Hello at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s inaugural International Women’s Day Lunch.

Hello joined a panel with Faurecia North America’s Ana Almeida, Benkari Mechanical LLC’s Adrienne Bennett, and Detroit Public Television’s Christy McDonald on Monday, March 11 to discuss what it means to lead with purpose. International Women’s Day was celebrated across the world a few days earlier on Friday, March 8 to acknowledge the success of women everywhere.

Over 75 items were donated to the Coalition On Temporary Shelter (COTS) at this event, but those who were unable to bring an item can also donate here.

Bennett was the first African American master plumber in the United States, but this designation did not come without challenges. She spoke of her experiences breaking ground in a typically male-dominated profession and offered five key pieces of advice to women moving into leadership positions:

  1. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
  2. Build a network of loyal, trustworthy staff.
  3. Stand by your word. Be who you say you’re going to be.
  4. Pay your bills and pay them on time.
  5. Invest in yourself.

Ana Almeida defined purpose as a unique gift that you can bring to the table, or something your staff will remember about you when you leave. Her advice for finding one’s purpose was to craft a “purpose statement” by thinking of what kinds of experiences you love the most, as well as what qualities help you get out of times of struggle.

After their discussions, all three women were joined on stage by McDonald to talk perceptions, diplomacy at work, dealing with fear, and more.

Bennett wrapped up the event well when she said, “In the workplace, don’t think of yourself as a ‘woman,’ just be yourself. Make a place for yourself at the table and others will follow suit.”

Watch a full video of the discussion here.