On May 20, ArtsWave hosted its Inaugural Women’s Leadership Symposium for members of its Women’s Leadership Roundtable. Founded in 2014, the Women’s Leadership Roundtable brings together women who support and value the impact of the arts in our region. Members support ArtsWave with a leadership gift and enjoy a variety of arts experiences and special networking opportunities.
The Symposium idea grew out of a conversation with ArtsWave’s Women’s Leadership Roundtable Steering Committee, chaired by Kelly Downing, and Kelly Kolar in particular. She noted that Cincinnati’s reputation for innovation in art & design has long attracted women leaders in various creative fields to our region, and that this is a moment when that leadership is shaping a bold new future. The committee extended invitations to five women who are making waves in art & design to share their stories. Gale Beckett and the events committee worked to shape an event that would provide opportunities for conversation and inspiration. And, knowing that the most precious resource for any woman leader is time, they suggested a “TED talk” style format to keep things lively.
More than 90 women attended the event at the Contemporary Arts Center. ArtsWave’s President and CEO, Alecia Kintner, served as moderator and introduced each of the speakers in turn.
Clara Martin spoke of her work at the Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center with youth who are at risk of dropping out of high school. “I like to say these kids are on the edge of disaster or the verge of a miracle,” Clara noted in a moment that elicited an audible “Aha!” reaction from the audience.
There were many more “aha” moments to come. Tamara Harkavy, CEO of ArtWorks, spoke about leaving Cincinnati, then returning and falling in love with the city. Mary Dietrich of Kolar Design shared a powerful story about her passion for creating environments and opportunities that inspire empathy, in the healthcare system and beyond.
P&G’s Elizabeth Olson urged the women in the room to take ownership of their success and hard work, and when they reached the top, to help other women in their journey. Finally, Cincinnati Ballet’s Victoria Morgan told her story of discovering her own power through dance, and encouraged everyone to embrace the struggle in their lives as an opportunity for growth.
Speakers, audience members, and organizers agreed that the evening was empowering and inspiring. Nancy Stewart, Senior Sales Contract Analyst at GE Aviation, ArtsWave advocate, and a Women’s Leadership Roundtable Member, wrote: “I met, mingled and heard from some amazing women. It was ArtsWave with a ladies' touch and it was a higher level that I'm so glad I did not miss...”
Interested in joining the Women’s Leadership Roundtable and attending our next Symposium? Learn more about this group of amazing women here. Thank you to the sponsors of this year's event: PNC Bank and Frost Brown Todd.