On Friday, March 25, the Texas MBA Women were invited by C200 – The Committee of 200 – to the C200 Reachout Leadership Forum that took place at the Four Seasons in Austin. It was truly a unique opportunity to meet with an extraordinary group of women who have succeeded in a variety of companies and industries.

The Committee of 200 is an invitation only membership organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. It is composed of exclusive highly networked women business leaders with unsurpassed collective influence, connecting and advancing women for a lifetime of business and socially responsible success.

The Forum kicked off with keynote speaker Lynn Utter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Knoll North America, speaking over lunch about ambition and how it has led to her success. After the keynote address the C200 members shared their career stories and insights with our MBA women in a round table format.

Attendees were then invited to choose to attend one of three panel discussions:
Business Negotiations Tactics and Tools: This panel, which was led by Rebecca Boenigk, CEO and Founder of Neutral Posture, Margarita Farmer, Chief Operations Officer at US Signs, and Laura Grondin, President and CEO of Virginia Industries, Inc., explored best practices for negotiating anything from a contract to your salary. 

Climbing the Corporate Ladder and Breaking Through Bureaucracy: C200 Members Donna Couch, Former Executive, Exxon-Mobil, Alice Schroeder, author of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and The Business of Life, and Lynn Utter discussed how to leap ahead of the competition and to navigate the corporate structure ensuring that you are valued for your contributions to the business.

The Road Less Traveled: Unconventional Career Choices: Gina Diez Barroso De Franklin, President and CEO, Grupo Diarq, S.A. de C.V., Marcy Maguire, CEO of Maguire Automotive Group, Christine Storey, Founder and Director of Midnite Express, and Sue Burnett, Burnett Staffing Specialists, talked about how they succeeded outside of the typical corporate structure through innovation and risk taking.

After a short break, the Forum continued with a panel discussion entitled “Big Girls Don’t Cry: Grace Under Pressure.” Pamela Coker, Former President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Acucorp, Inc., Gay Gaddis, President and CEO of T3 (The Think Tank), and Karen Pitts, Co-CEO Link Staffing Services, discussed the importance of leaders to operate with fortitude. They shared their experiences and how they maintained composure under even the most trying circumstances. 

Bianca Lesmes, Chantal Pittman, Alice Humphrey and C200 Member Alice Schroeder.

At the conclusion of the Forum, there was a scholarship reception, where three Texas MBA women were presented with a $10,000 scholarship. The scholarships awarded outstanding women MBA students who exemplify extraordinary leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to giving back and supporting other women. Alice Humphrey received the award from the Full-time program and Blanca Lesmes and Chantal Pittman were selected from the Executive MBA Program. We are so proud of these women!

The day provided a unique opportunity for our women to learn from those that trail blazed their career paths and reflect on their own career aspirations. It was an inspiring and educational afternoon. 

Thanks to C200!