By Lisa Stockley and contributors
From October 3-4, Technology Association of Georgia, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Canada, will present the second annual Women in Business North America Summit in Atlanta. More than 550 participants from across North America attended the inaugural event in 2016. The summit will include a B2B Fair and morning and afternoon plenary sessions along with tailored mentor workshops designed to support the needs of participating women entrepreneurs and executives.
So why is the summit important, and what does it mean to our partners? We asked four of the summit partners — Bank of America, TAG, Moxie USA, and Business Women in International Trade Canada — to share their thoughts on the support of women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.
Bank of America believes that diversity makes their company stronger. It is essential to their ability to serve their customers and clients, to attract and retain the best teammates, and to help their company grow. Bank of America recognizes the potential of every employee by actively encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace — in thought, style, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, and experience. More than 50 percent of their global workforce is female, and more than 40 percent of their U.S. workforce is racially or ethnically diverse.
“We’re also an inclusive company ― our benefits reflect the diversity of our employees, including 16 weeks offered for all parental leave and development programs focused on advancing diverse talent, like our Diverse Leaders Sponsorship Program and the D&I Development Program,” said Atlanta Market President Wendy Stewart.
“Our courageous conversations continue to encourage open dialogue among our employees and community partners about issues of diversity and inclusion, providing space and support for employees to understand and learn from each other,” added Stewart.
Technology Association of Georgia is also committed to diversity. For TAG, untapped potential needs to be supported and there is a lot of work to do.
“Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are critical to the overall success of an organization. In science, technology, engineering, and business, women readily rise to the occasion to lead and solve problems. They need to be provided more opportunities to define their career path,” said TAG CEO Larry Williams.
Solange Claudio, president of Moxie USA, believes that not hiring diverse talent that accurately reflects the marketplace and the world we live in is a problem plaguing their industry. Claudio feels that participating in events such as the Women in Business North America Summit allows Moxie to bring this issue to light in a public venue. That way, there can be an honest conversation on challenges and actions that can be taken to drive the changes needed to close the talent gap and to build a pipeline for the next generation of multicultural talent.
Moxie has supported diversity in the community with a number of initiatives, many in partnership with UGA and Junior Achievement of Georgia, including Next Gen, AdPR Academy, and Advertising for Change.
One of the founding partners of the summit, Business Women in International Trade Canada, has been providing advice, tools, and services to Canadian women entrepreneurs, connecting them to opportunities to secure contracts globally through supplier diversity initiatives, and encouraging exports and the exploration of new markets for the past 20 years. With the support of Global Affairs Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service, BWIT will be leading a Canadian delegation to Georgia to participate in the summit. Connecting with a North America Network and business opportunities in Atlanta will help increase the success of Canadian women entrepreneurs looking at export and partnership opportunities.
To learn more about the event, visit the event page. Participants may register for one or both days. Conference tracks are available for female executives, solo entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs of small and larger enterprises.
Lisa Stockley, Consul and Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada, Atlanta
I’m responsible for the integrated Foreign Direct Investment and Innovation program at the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta. My roles include promoting Canadian commercial and economic interests and the development of innovative strategies for the identification and implementation of business opportunities in diverse sectors in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee.