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Supporting the evolution of women in business

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Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 2:00:00 pm

Our 2017 Devereux Women in Leadership Award honoree, Haverford Trust Co. President Binney Wietlisbach, follows in the footsteps of past winners who have included leaders in health care, law, politics, nonprofits and entrepreneurship.

The award was presented at our Gold Leaf Celebration on Thursday, heading into a weekend that featured the opening of the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs movie “Battle of the Sexes.” It was a good time to reflect on why we honor specifically women business leaders.

You might as well ask, why do we have a small business CEO of the year award? Or a nonprofit CEO of the year award? For that matter, what about the Pulitzers or the Nobel Peace Prize?

There’s a practice in leadership in which you point out what you would like to see more of. In the video we created to tell part of Binney’s story as a leader, a mentor described the intelligence and moral compass apparent in Binney from when they first met. And a mentee shared reflections on how Binney helps everyone around her to feel special. Her company’s CEO Joe McLaughlin spoke from the podium in front of an audience of more than 200 business leaders of Binney’s competitive spirit and ability to overcome obstacles, going back to their early days in business together 25 years ago.

The winners of the Helena Devereux Award over the years stand out on any stage and each of them has also been honored in myriad ways that have nothing to do with the fact that they are women. Rather, they are more likely honored because they are leaders with track records of success – valued by their communities – valued by their companies – valued by those they help to succeed.

It’s not just about what women can do, as we learn through our work with the Chamber’s Society of Professional Women, which is the largest and most robust women’s networking group in the region as we head into our ninth year. SPW seeks to empower women to break barriers and men must be part of that conversation. Although they make up roughly half the working population, women are often paid less and are under-represented in the C-suite and on corporate boards of directors.  This is about more than having women reach their potential. It’s also about better utilizing talent, which is essential to our companies and our governments.

That’s why we honor women leaders. I want to offer special thanks to our title sponsor Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and our presenting sponsors The Haverford Trust Co. and TD Bank, along with reception sponsor The Philadelphia Country Club, Legacy of Leadership Sponsor Independence Blue Cross, Spirit of Leaders sponsors Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach REALTORS and Firstrust Bank, along with our leader sponsors Aqua, BB&T, Brinker Simpson, Crozer-Keystone Health System, KYW Newsradio 1060, USI Affinity’s My Benefit Advisor, Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, Vanguard and Vertex Inc.

To read the entire October issue of the Main Line Business Monthly please click here

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