MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Jan. 24, 2019) – Professional Dimensions hosted its first-ever Ideation Summit at the Pfister Hotel on January 23, 2019. The half-day event brought together more than 300 leaders in our community to focus on the topic of inclusive leadership in an already diverse world.
The CEO of Professional Dimensions, Johannah Karstedt St. John, kicked off the event by sharing the organizations’ own journey, the progress made to-date, and the desire to be an organization that models inclusive leadership. She noted “In June last year, we elected a Board of Directors that encompassed women from three generations, that included both seasoned and new members from a multitude of companies and industries. And, 33% of our board seats are currently held by women of color.”
The program keynote speaker was Arwa Mahdawi, a London-born, New York-based writer, brand strategist and diversity consultant. In her presentation she challenged the audience to re-frame how they think about diversity and inclusion efforts in order to evolve from simply creating a diverse workforce to truly embracing a culture change that allows for diversity to thrive.
Following the keynote address, corporate partners shared their thought leadership in a variety of breakout sessions, representing a range of topics designed to encourage deeper conversations. Headlining sponsor Baird led a discussion entitled Aha! Moments: How New Perspectives Lead to Action. Keynote sponsor Manpower Group led Inclusion as a Measurable Business Imperative. Other breakout sessions included AdvocateAuroraHealth’s Multi-Dimensional Challenges (Intersectionality), Brewers Community Foundation Inc.’s A Day in the Life, Goodwill’s Stop Doing Diversity, Start Living It, and Northwestern Mutual’s Middle Management: Where Diversity Goes to Die.
Professional Dimensions chose this year’s theme as one near and dear to the organization. Emily Phillips, President of the Board of Professional Dimensions shared that “just over a decade ago, we began having deep conversations as an organization about racial inequity and institutionalized practices that prevent the advancement of all. This process was sometimes uncomfortable and necessary to advance our understanding of our often sluggish progress as a country and as a city.” The Ideation Summit was created as a way to spark the conversation with thought leaders in Milwaukee. Phillips stated that “we saw an opportunity this year to use our collective power to elevate a topic of importance in our community,” and added that this annual summit provides an ongoing platform for a variety of topics.
About Professional Dimensions
Founded in 1978 and celebrating its 40th anniversary, Professional Dimensions is a membership organization of more than 400 inclusive women leaders who use their collective power to help each other and advance the community. Guided by the four tenets of Leadership, Diversity, Community and Networking, Professional Dimensions cultivates relationships between women of all backgrounds, ages, industries and experience levels. More information can be found at www.professionaldimensions.org.