Leveling The Playing Field
Women Elevating Women: Second Conference on Success and Economic Empowerment for Women Business Executives and Entrepreneurs
By Maria Lopez-Bernstein
Women comprise more than half the U.S. population, yet still face challenges owning and operating their own businesses. Enter Betty J. Hines.
Recognizing these challenges and working to level the playing field is business strategist and consultant Betty J. Hines, a successful 40-year business veteran.
As a precursor to International Women’s Day, Hines held the one-year anniversary of the Women Elevating Women Conference March 6 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD. Hines is founder of Women Elevating Women (W.E.W.), a business conference that provides a platform for multicultural women business owners and executives to come together to share and discuss common challenges and to create strategies for success and economic empowerment.
It’s appropriate that W.E.W. be held in Maryland and specifically in Prince George’s County. Maryland ranks number one in the U.S. for minority and women businesses ownership, according to a recent study by Paychex. And of U.S. cities, Capitol Heights, in Prince George’s County, had the highest average of minority-owned businesses; in fact, the study shows that four of the top five cities in the top three states in that category were in Prince George’s: Capitol Heights, Beltsville, Brentwood, and Bowie. Hines has been facilitating roundtable discussions and counseling business leaders on how to change their current paradigm into something that converts challenges into opportunities.
“From my 40 years of experience as both a corporate executive and woman business owner, I know firsthand the challenges multicultural professional women face – trying to survive and thrive in a fast-paced and constantly changing business community,” said Hines.
The W.E.W.conference included sessions that highlighted business cultures, unconscious biases, gender equality, the need for diversity and personal growth tools that enable professional business women to survive and thrive drawing on W.E.W.’s five Pillars of Success: Cultivate, Communicate, Collaborate, Courage and Connect.
Hines adds, at the conference women engaged “in an active dialogue on successful strategies to scale and grow their businesses, including how to close the wealth gap, tapping hidden financial resources, maintaining good health to increase wealth and cultivating the future by protecting their legacy.”
The conference keynote speaker was Crystal Khali, director of procurement and the highest ranking female executive at Porsche Cars North America. With over 20 years of global supply chain industry leadership experience, Khali is skilled at negotiating complex service agreements and managing $600 million annually in commodity spending.
“Leadership in the supply chain industry is typically male-dominated and it’s very difficult for women to excel in the profession,” Khalil said. “Proving yourself and developing relationships is critical. I had to earn my seat at the table. As the first African-American female executive at Porsche, I know many young women and people of color look at me and are empowered by what I do every day. In my position, I have the ability to inspire other women and people of color and let them see that the next level is eminent if they maximize their leadership and potential. This is also why the mission of Women Elevating Women is so critically important and why I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Other conference highlights included panelists Kristina Bouweiri, president and CEO of Reston Limousine in Dulles, Va.; Camille Burns, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Women Presidents’ Educational Organization and the Women Presidents’ Organization in New York, N.Y.; Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Md.; Sandra P. Eberhard, executive director of Women Presidents’ Educational Organization-DC; Angela Franco, former president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Carolyn E. Howell, founder of EVENTS USA in Seabrook, Md.; Dr. Barbara A. Hutchinson, managing partner of Chesapeake Cardiac Care in Annapolis, Md.; Dr. Angela M. Marshall, board certified internist at Comprehensive Women’s Health in Silver Spring, Md.; Monica T. McCoy, global speaker and founder of MonicaMotivates, LLC in Conyers, Ga.; Gina Merritt, owner of Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures in Washington, D.C.; Joy Rahat, founder and CEO of Joy Rahat Media in Washington, D.C.; Stacie L. Redmon, president and CEO of Strategy and Management Services, Inc., in Springfield, Va.; Ciemone A. Sheppard, licensed New York Life Insurance Company agent and co-founder of Sheppard Benefits Group, Inc., in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Janice Tippett, president and CEO of Millennium Marketing Solutions in Annapolis Junction, Md.