Mar 22, 2021 | Leadership, People

Last week, I attended the virtual Women’s Week Leadership Conference sponsored by the North San Diego Business Chamber. This annual conference is designed to inspire, empower and connect women of all ages and professions in honor of Women’s History Month.

Over the weekend, I reviewed my notes and selected a few takeaways that resonated with me.

1. Tammie Jo Shults is a retired American commercial airline captain, author, and one of the first female fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Navy. She’s also the Southwest Airlines pilot who captained the crippled Southwest 1380 flight in April of 2018, which made an emergency landing after an engine failure and rapid depressurization. After a harrowing emergency descent from 32,000 feet, with one passenger blown partly out of the plane, Captain Shults landed the crippled Boeing 737 in Philadelphia. She retired from Southwest Airlines in 2020.

Quote: A hero is someone who takes the time to see then chooses to act on behalf of somebody else.

Bonus: Shults’ book, Nerves of Steel: How I Followed My Dreams, Earned My Wings, and Faced My Greatest Challenge, is the captivating true story of her remarkable life starting with growing up the daughter of a humble rancher in a small Texas town.


2. Andrew Bolwell is the Chief Disrupter and Global Head of HP Tech Strategy and Ventures, the corporate venture arm of HP, where he and his team identify promising, leading-edge technology startups and pursue strategic investments and partnerships to help those companies bring products to market and scale as they grow.

 Quote: Only 35% of Americans think about their 5-year future on a regular basis. Writing a future press release is a great way to make a bold vision come to life.

(Check out Jim Collins tools for creating a vision framework, including tips for writing an article that you’d like to see published 15 years from now.)

Bonus: Bolwell recommends Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of Innovation talk at TEDxBerkeley 2014 which focuses on making meaning, not just money. He stresses that if you determine how you change the world, the success and money will follow. As Kawasaki says, “if you truly want to make meaning, it’s the first step toward innovation.”


3. Dr. Alessandra Wall is a clinical psychologist, leadership and confidence coach for professional women, consultant, and accountability partner for leaders who truly care to elevate and support women. Dr. Wall has focused her career on helping women speak up, show up powerfully, and succeed on their own terms.

Quote: The woman who’s most likely holding you back isn’t someone competing with you for a promotion, your toxic boss, or a colleague focused on sabotaging your success. It’s most likely you. Your belief systems, or filters, about the expectations imposed on women limit your power to challenge the status quo, reshape the norm, and create a more equitable society.

Bonus: Check out Dr. Wall’s signature DIY resource, the e-book Back To Me, a 4-week self-care program that covers four major areas of life and where you might be going wrong in each area.


4. Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a professional troublemaker. She’s also an author, a sought-after speaker and podcast host who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and justice. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, and just released her second book, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual.

Quote: Fear is not something you conquer once and you’re done. Every single day we are met with moments where we can choose courage over fear. In fact, courage doesn’t exist without fear first. If it was easy, then it wasn’t courageous.

Bonus: Watch Ms. Jones’ 2017 TED Talk, Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable, that’s had over 5.7 million views (though she nearly skipped doing it because of imposter syndrome).


5. Shellye Archambeau is one of high tech’s first female African American executives. She is an experienced CEO and Board Director with a track record of building brands, high performance teams, and organizations. Ms. Archambeau currently serves on the boards of Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and Okta. She is also a strategic advisor to the Royal Bank of Canada, Capital Markets Group.

Quote: Ambition simply means that you have something that you are striving to create, to impact, or to achieve in the future, and you’re working toward it. It’s not using elbows, stepping over others, and taking all of the credit. That has nothing to do with ambition. That’s just rude.

Bonus: Get Ms. Archambeau’s book, Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms, full of empowering wisdom and practical tools for how to achieve your personal and professional goals.

These are just a few of the speakers and panelists who generously shared with humor, compassion, power, and grit.

Question: If you attended an event honoring Women’s History Month this year, what messages resonated with you?

-Sheri Nasim, President & CEO



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