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7th Annual Women's Leadership Forum

7th Annual Women’s Leadership Forum

Ed Guerrero


Juan Castaneda strolled in between the tables magically playing “At Last” on his saxophone while Lila Sherman-Perez entranced the audience with her velvety voice.  The thundering applause and smiles confirmed the audience’s approval.  And just minutes before, Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson led everyone in prayer that complemented an equally beautiful song of inspiration.  And so began the 7th Annual Women’s Leadership Forum at the Irish Cultural Center on March 22, 2012.


Recognition of women came in various forms.    They were thanked for what they do for serving our residents in Maricopa County.  A story was told about how six aunts became mentors and instrumental in their success.  Another confirmation came in the form that we should allow talent to rise to its natural accession – - why half their staff is women.   We should not let stereotyping define us.  You should become what your goals and talents take you. 


The women of Maricopa County demonstrated a collage of professional clothing attire perfectly suited to be worn in the work place.  Each person had picked out their clothing and included:  dark denim, pencil skirts, combination blouses and jackets, summer dresses, traditional Native American jewelry, and numerous two-piece jacket and pants/dress combinations.


The highly anticipated moment arrived when keynote speaker Katherine Anaya passionately spoke about her own journey of “empowering success”, the theme of this year’s event.  Major events in Katherine’s life and career in journalism painted the picture of fearless women.  There were several bumps and bruises in her life, but Katherine met them head on with courage and determination.   She recognized her fears but decided with conviction that she can succeed.


Katherine Anaya listed these qualities as keys to success:

-          Be passionate

-          Covet criticism

-          Mentor others

-          Respect responsibility

-          Make it matter (be authentic)


She eloquently closed by stating, “It is what you do with the job, not the job.”  And that we should be people of action by quoting Mahatma Gandhi by embracing “Be the change you want to see in the world.”   



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