Fosters personal growth, leadership and self-awareness
BY KOREY ASHTON AND CERRINA JENSEN
In 2019, CAHU (now known as CAHIP) introduced the Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS) as a first-of-its-kind event, and we promptly started planning our 2nd annual summit, set for March 2020. But alas, COVID-19 had other plans and after a 2-year hiatus we finally convened for the 2nd WLS on March 14 to 16, 2022 just outside Las Vegas.
The purpose of WLS is to gather existing and aspiring women leaders to foster personal growth, leadership and self-awareness. We provided an atmosphere that encourages intimacy, relationship building, frank and open discussions, and most of all, an opportunity to learn and grow. And we’re so proud that we seem to have done just that. We welcomed a beautifully diverse group of women from all around the country, aged 11 to 70 something, in every shape, size, style and hue. We even had three brave male attendees, and enjoyed engaging with them during the summit!
The program was kicked off by none other than Lisa Hutcherson who also graced our stage at the first WLS, and consistently contributed to our subsequent series of articles in this publication.
Our second day began with guided meditation by Naama Pozniak, followed by a beautiful performance by Sue Wakamoto-Lee of Stevie Nicks’ Landslide. The founders of WLS — Stephanie Berger, Cerrina Jensen, Korey Ashton, Dawn McFarland and Jolene Bibian – then told the WLS Origin Story, which literally began with little plastic party favors at a birthday celebration during NAHU’s 2018 Capitol Conference.
From there, our featured keynote session got underway. We are grateful to Jessica Word of Word & Brown for sharing her incredibly talented older sister, Lori Taylor, who brought the house down with great insight and inspiration, and plenty of laughs. Like her enlightening story about when she so proudly declared to her husband upon completing her first ever black diamond ski run that she had not fallen even once. His reply stunned her at first but was quite the game changer in the end. He told her, “You can be proud that you didn’t fall, but that just tells me you weren’t really trying.” Lori also challenged the audience to ponder why they avoid opportunities for growth, and reminded us that the only PR that matters is Personal Responsibility. Playing comparison games serves no other purpose than to lower your own bar. She reiterated, “it’s okay to not be okay when circumstances knock you on your butt.”
We had several other keynotes, including Emma Fox’s incredible story of how she emerged from a very difficult childhood into the firebrand she is today. Our first panel featured a chat about leadership with Pat Griffey, Alycia Reidel, Susan Rider, Stephanie Berger, and Sue Wakamoto-Lee (pictured below). Another panel focused on Queen Bee Syndrome, with Megan Chiarello, Susan Combs, Emma Fox and Cerrina Jensen.
Our program also featured Words of Wisdom (WoW) TED-style talks
on a variety of subjects including vulnerable leadership, empowerment, finances, social purpose, CBD as medicine, and being unapologetically you. Thanks to all our WoW speakers, including Amy Evans, Cerrina Jensen, Samantha Siders, Korey Ashton, Leilani Quiary, Jennifer Lowery and Elisabeth Mack.
Another unexpected highlight of this summit was our youngest participant. We love that Jennifer Spiegel Berman shared WLS with her remarkable daughter, Abby, (pictured right) who brought her own perspective and observations to the conversation and dazzled us all with her charm!
After this special day of self-discovery and emotional aha’s, we hopped on a bus and a few Ubers for a drive to The Mob Museum in old-town Las Vegas. There we hosted a 1920’s speakeasy costume party that featured bootleg spirits, secret rooms, private tours, and lots of fun.
In our closing session, the final keynote by Jenna Phillips Ballard — another special guest orchestrated by Jessica Word — was phenomenal! She showed us that you can interpret any and everything HOWEVER you want. She reminded us that transformation only happens in the discomfort zone and encouraged us to rewire our thoughts to “everything happens FOR me, not to me.” Jenna emphasized that we were all born with the ability to manifest ANYthing, but that we’ve simply forgotten how. And she cautioned us that being busy and exhausted is not a badge of honor and a full calendar does not prove your value.
Jenna also gave us a parting gift in the form of a transformational video where she asserted that you CAN have it all, once you give yourself permission.
Since the conclusion of WLS on March 16, many conversations have been taking place around the country about the profound and life-changing impact this program had on many of our participants. We appreciate all the thank you’s, accolades and feedback, and look forward to sharing more about the future of WLS in the coming weeks and months. Exciting developments are in the works!