LA Business Journal’s 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards

The gender wage gap is still a real and persistent problem in America and around the world – one that requires great dedication, time, and effort to change. Globally, the proportion of senior business roles held by women stands at a mere 24%, according to Forbes; in the US, women still earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016, reported the Labor Department.

But there’s good news. According to the Wall Street Journal, women are more likely to give, and to give more, than men in similar situations. A study conducted at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has found that baby boomer and older women gave 89% more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25% of permanent income gave up to 156% more than men in the same category.


LA Business Journal’s 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards

Photo Credit: Tom Werges


Photo Credit: Lindy Huang Werges

LA Business Journal’s 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards

Photo Credit: Chloe Liu











To recognize and honor outstanding businesswomen who have made significant achievements and contributions to their organizations, industries, and the Los Angeles community, the LA Business Journal held its 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit and Awards at JW Marriot LA Live on June 23rd, 2017. The Summit began with dynamic forum sessions featuring successful female executives, on topics ranging from leadership, female empowerment, to perseverance. This was followed by the Awards Luncheon, which honored outstanding female executives in the following categories: Business Owner / CEO of the Year, Executive of the Year, Rising Star, Volunteer of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year, and Corporate Advocate.


LA Business Journal’s 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards

Photo Credit: Tom Werges

LA Business Journal’s 25th Annual 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards

Source: LA Business Journal










The LA Business Journal would like to thank the summit’s Platinum Sponsors Blank Rome, LLP., California Bank & Trust, Girls Scouts of Los Angeles, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Green Hasson Janks, and Wells Fargo.

Here are the highlights from the speaker panels:

Building the Next Generation

Moderated by Judy Olian, Dean and John E. Anderson Chair of Management at UCLA Anderson School of Management, this panel focused on leadership, mentorship, and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business leaders. It featured Michele Havens, Los Angeles Regional President of Northern Trust; Nicole Adrien, Managing Director of Marketing and Client Relations at Oaktree Capital Management; and Ashley Merrill, Founder and CEO of Lunya.


Olian: How did you learn to lead?

Havens: Leadership starts in childhood, and you learn along the way. It’s about understanding the team.

Adrien: I learned how to lead through continuous listening, and getting into roles of leadership. It’s a continuous learning process.

Merrill: It is fundamental to have people who want to follow you, and who will rally behind you. You also have to know where you are headed.



Source: LA Business Journal


Olian: How do you know if you should say yes or no?

Merrill: Know what you want and where you’re headed. Say no to something that is going to take you away from your path.

Nicole: I would say it depends on your stage of career. If you are early in your career, say yes and do everything you are asked to do. As you grow, learn what your priorities are and say no to otherwise.


Olian: What do you look for in a team?

Merrill: I look for intellectual horsepower, hard workers, those who can create value for the company, and who are motivated and passionate about what the company is trying to accomplish.

Adrien: Great talent, drive, intellectual excellence, achievers, and high performers.

Havens: I look for individuals who are not afraid to stand out.



Source: LA Business Journal


Source: LA Business Journal










Olian: What do you know now that you didn’t know before?

Havens: Have patience – go slow to go fast. Be quick on issues and long on people.

Merrill: Nobody has all the answers, so just be confident.


Scale Your Business, Build Your Future

The second panel was moderated by Tracy Williams, President and CEO of Olmstead Williams & Communications. It featured Dulari Amin, Chief Operating Officer at Qello Media; Carmen Rad, Founder and President of CR&A Custom Inc.; Kalika Yap, CEO of Citrus Studios; and Veronica Omar, LA Business Area Manager at Wells Fargo’s Los Angeles Bank – all CEOs and executives who have successfully scaled their businesses, overcome various challenges, and adapted to new technology and the ever-changing consumer market.



Source: LA Business Journal


Source: LA Business Journal










On what advice they have for the audience, Amin shared, “Have patience when you have nothing, and attitude when you have everything.” Rad, on the other hand, said, “The worst thing someone can say to you is no, and it means no right now, not no forever.”


The Greater Good

The National Association of Women Business Owners has found that women give more than their male counterparts at all income levels and age – why is that? Moderated by Lise L. Luttgens, CEO of Girls Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, this panel explored how women have continuously been able to find ways and resources to give back and stay connected with their passions throughout different stages of life. Featured panelists included­­ Joanna Hua, Sophomore at Cornell University and Girl Scouts; Kiesha Nix, Executive Director of the Lakers Youth Foundation; and Kathie Deshaw, Managing Director of Advancement and External Relations at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.


Source: LA Business Journal


Luttgens: What emerging trends do you see in philanthropy?

Nix: I see that more families are getting together in philanthropy – parents are now asking kids how they want to contribute and taking them to volunteer. Philanthropy is becoming a legacy. Another trend I noticed is that millennials are tweeting about their philanthropic efforts and spreading the message on social media.

Hua: More people are finding common vulnerabilities between “you” and “me.” Instead of seeing people we help as the “other,” we are really starting to understand that we’re all the same inside.

Kathie: I am seeing a huge generational wealth transfer, the largest of which is in Southern California – $1.4 trillion – a third of which will go to the non-private sector.


Other panel discussions are: “#BeMore, Creative, Social, Bold, Mindful,” moderated by Mari Anne Kehler, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Green Hasson Janks; “What Does Real Perseverance Look Like?”, moderated by Stacy Phillips, Partner at Blank Rome, LLP.; and “Success Through Values in Business,” lead by Dr. Betty Uribe, Executive Vice President of California Bank & Trust. 



Source: LA Business Journal


Source: LA Business Journal








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