FCSW 2021 LEAD Summit Virtual Experience
On March 23-25, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women held its 8th annual LEAD Summit. The annual summit brings together women from across Florida to learn how to engage with the Florida Legislature and navigate the legislative process. Attendees have opportunities to hear presenters, discuss topics important to women, and better understand how to strengthen their local community.
The 2021 Summit presented the Commission with a new challenge of hosting a virtual conference for the first time. The new format allowed for increased attendance and participation. The event saw 400 attendees, nearly 270% growth over the previous year’s event, and 80% were newcomers. Additionally, attendees posted nearly 3500 comments on over 100 discussion topics on our community board and started over 800 one-on-one messages! That translates to a lot of networking and collaboration among the women of Florida, and the Commission could not be happier with these phenomenal results.
The virtual platform also offered many benefits to this year’s programming. The Commission was able to organize speakers who, due to location, situation, or schedule, would not have otherwise been able to share their expertise. Three of Florida’s outstanding women leaders, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, were able to open each day of the event with their regards to the women of Florida and remarks on the importance of women in leadership. Out-of-state U.S. Census research economist Misty Heggeness joined us from her home in the nation’s capital to explain what the data says about COVID-19’s effects on women and mothers; attorney Brenda Ramirez shared her leadership mindset and action advice while at a travel-restricted 39-weeks pregnant; and our several other expert speakers, all with hectic schedules and busy lives, were able to take the time to provide their knowledge, experience, and advice on healthcare, small business, social change, and more. From marketing strategist to leadership coach to educator to advocate, the 2021 LEAD Summit speakers run the gamut of the status of women in leadership today, and the virtual platform allowed the Commission to bring them together from far and wide.
Amazing panelists discussed topics ranging from social change and racism to healthcare to women in business and young women in leadership
“The ability to deliver this virtual summit as a resource to women across Florida is key to providing them with a glimpse into the legislative process,” Commissioner Sophia Eccleston, Chair of the 2021 LEAD Summit, expressed. “Events like these are critical steps to help women understand how they can help impact change in their state.”
A major topic of this year’s summit was how to turn an idea or a cause into a movement to affect change. Presentations covered topics such as women in leadership, COVID-19’s impact on women and businesses, affordable health and how to mobilize a community to support a cause.
“This Summit has brought us together to celebrate women in the next 100 years and explore what that may even look like,” submits Pamela Rauch, Vice President External Affairs and Economic Development at Florida Power and Light Company. “There are endless possibilities.”
The Commission expresses its appreciation for all our registrants and attendees for their engagement, feedback, and suggestions. Year after year, participants have helped grow and shape the Summit. Our greatest ambition is to enrich the ability of Florida women and girls to achieve their fullest potential, and the responses received from the virtual Summit have sparked many conversations about how we can better serve the women of Florida and fully achieve our mission.
“As this was the first virtual LEAD Summit hosted by the Commission,” explains 2021 commission Chair Karin Hoffman, “we became even more creative and innovative. The results speak for themselves. This platform provided the greatest reach to women throughout the state of Florida that our Commission has ever seen! The content, speakers and panelists were inspiring and motivational. And, yet, there was such a great opportunity for connecting and networking before, during and after the Summit. Florida has only just begun to see the positive impact of this tremendous event.
“Our sincerest thanks to the Public Policy Committee, Committee Chair Sophia Eccleston, and the Commission staff for their tireless efforts in planning, preparing and delivering such a fine event.”
The Florida Commission on the Status of Women also extends its warmest regards to Florida Power and Light Company for their support of the 2021 LEAD Summit and their continued partnership. As leaders in diversity, inclusion, and empowerment, FPL exemplifies the values of FCSW, and we are honored to work together and bring programs like the LEAD Summit to the people of Florida. As the Commission envisions a state, nation, and world in which women are uninhibited by gender-related barriers, it is through these collaborations that we realize our vision.
Were you unable to join us in March? Get the full summit experience for a limited time on Whova, where you can watch each session, read session comments from organizers, speakers, and attendees, and browse the community message board. Don’t miss this chance to interact with other attendees and set up networking and collaborative opportunities for yourself and the women in your community. As always, this material is provided completely free of cost and is made available on the FCSW YouTube Channel.
Did you attend the summit? We want to hear from you! Fill out our after-event survey so we can continue to bring you the content you want and need to learn the legislative process, get involved in your community and state, and grow as Florida women LEADers.
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