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VOL. 114 | NO. 89 | Monday, May 8, 2000

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Womens potential for business success will be the focus of on upcoming seminar sponsored by the Memphis Arthur Andersen office and LEAD, the Women in Leadership program at the University of Memphis Seminar to show women the benefit of networking By LAURIE JOHNSON The Daily News Since the dawn of time, women have earned the reputation of being the worlds greatest talkers. Studies have shown, however, when it comes to making and maintaining contacts in the business world, many still are shrinking violets. Teaching women how to achieve business success through networking will be the focus of an upcoming seminar sponsored by the local offices of Arthur Andersen and LEAD, the Women in Leadership program at the University of Memphis. "Power Networking: Women Connecting and Creating Success" will start at 5 p.m. Thursday at Hardin Hall at the Memphis Botanic Garden in Audubon Park. A reception will follow the event, catered by Another Roadside Attraction. Forging relationships with colleagues and other professionals in their fields is crucial to womens success and satisfaction in the workplace, said Brenda Younger, director of the U of Ms Women in Leadership program. Few, however, are truly aware just how important networking is, she said, and not just in the workplace, but in their personal lives, as well. Surveys have shown women are not nearly as actively involved in networking as men, Younger said. More than 60 percent of most working mens time is spent in some type of networking activity, and men also appear to have much broader networks. "Women tend to have much smaller networks," she said. "They dont draw on quite the same number of people or bring as wide an array of connections into their lives." Lack of time is one reason many women fail to connect with their peers, Younger said. "Women tend to wear many more hats than men, because theyre typically the primary caretakers in their families and they often manage their homes," she said. Younger said LEAD, which gets its name from "Lead, Empower, Achieve and Discover," was approached by Arthur Andersen to jointly sponsor the seminar. "A lot of their mission statement coincides with what were trying to accomplish, as well," said Laura Hine, director of marketing for the Mid-South practice of Arthur Andersen, which includes offices in Memphis, Little Rock and Jackson, Miss. The idea for the networking seminar emerged out of GROW, a national Arthur Andersen initiative promoting the professional growth and retention of women in the firm, Hine said. The seminar is the first major step the company has taken in terms of promoting networking outside the firm, which has a number of female employees. "There are some informal networks that exist within the office, but this is our first step toward really introducing our women and getting them involved and plugged into a greater external community." The event will consist of a presentation and a panel discussion, followed by a reception where participants can interact with seminar leaders and each other. The keynote speaker for the event will be Donna Fisher, an expert in the field of networking and the importance of people skills for success in todays business world. Fisher, who has worked with Exxon and McDonnell Douglas and served as a consultant to Hewlett Packard, New York Life and Lucent Technologies, is the author of "Power Networking: 55 Secrets for Personal and Professional Success" and "People Power: 12 Power Principles to Enrich Your Business, Career and Personal Networks." Following Fishers presentation, several local businesswomen will conduct a panel discussion on related issues, including their experiences with networking and concerns facing women in business today. Panelists will include Franketta Guinn, Gayle Rose, Susan S. Stephenson and Dianne Miller Stokely. Guinn is an independent management consultant specializing in business strategies. She is the former owner/operator of Metro Home Health Care Inc., which has won local, state and regional "Small Business of the Year" awards. Rose is the treasurer of the board of directors of the Womens Foundation for a Greater Memphis and an advisory board member for the Chopra Cos., owned by author and endocrinologist Dr. Deepak Chopra. She was one of 50 U.S. women business leaders invited to attend the first Summit of Women World Leaders at Harvard University. Stephenson, Memphis first female bank chief executive officer, is president and co-chairman of Independent Bank, as well as one of its co-founders. Prior to her association with Independent Bank, she was president of NationsBank and chairman, president and chief executive officer of Boatmens Bank of Tennessee. Stokely is senior vice president of customer services at Federal Express. She is responsible for customer service and global clearance operations, engineering and training. "We expect to have a lively discussion with these women as panelists and the crowd well have," Hine said. About 350 women have registered for the seminar, and Hine said she expected a total of about 500 to attend. "This will not just be 50 women sitting around listening to a speaker. Weve had an enormous response." Local companies have purchased blocks of tickets, and are encouraging their female employees to attend. FedEx, for example, has purchased 100 tickets, and Arthur Andersen has purchased 75, Hine said. Younger said she hopes women attending the conference will leave the event with a new understanding and appreciation of networking. "I hope they will take away with them techniques and concepts for how they might use networking in their careers and in their personal lives, as well," she said, noting that networking avenues include professional organizations or special interest groups, volunteering in the community, and classes. "There are just so many ways to do it." Younger said her goal was to be involved in putting on three or four seminars like this one each year. LEAD already is planning a leadership symposium for the fall, she said. Hine said Arthur Andersen also was interested in hosting more events of this type, and planned to survey attendees to find out what topics they were interested in. "We dont have the next event planned, but we perceive there will be enough interest and things will happen in the future," Hine said. Registration for the seminar will start at 4:30 p.m., and the program is expected to conclude by about 7 p.m. The cost of the seminar is $15 per person. Registration will be allowed on the date of the event, but seating is limited, so reservations are encouraged and can be made by contacting Adrienne Clark with Arthur Andersen at 575-9387.

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