We’re baaaack!! Reflections on the WBENC National Conference

March 28, 2024

Yes! We made it back from our big excursion to Denver to host the closing brunch for WBENC’s All-Time Top Corporations for 25 years! I will not lie I had some butterflies in my stomach leading up to this. The team at WBENC could not have been more organized, supportive, clear and helpful, everything you wish for in a collaboration. My first idea for how to structure the two hours was to anchor the brunch in the letter M. We would recognize motivation, momentum, metamorphosis, and other marvelous M words, including mother. As in mine, Muriel, the face that launched a thousand laughs. I didn’t say that literally. Nevertheless, I wasn’t sure how they’d respond. Much to my relief there were a lot of smiling faces in their respective ZOOM squares. Sure they had a tinge of, “these Hollywood people are a little wacky!”, but we all ran with the concept. Cut to the event, as soon as the slide of my mother’s face came on the jumbotron there was a collective “awww,” from the thousand person audience. 

“She would have loved that!” I couldn’t help but blurt out.

The room was filled with the leaders of Supplier Diversity from Fortune 20 companies. These are the people who make sure companies hire women and all minorities. As soon as I introduced the LOC team - Lauren Pritchard, Madi Goff, Sydney Adeniyi and Nikki Ghisel - and had them running in through the aisles, the audience was hooked. It’s not easy to make a well-earned and extensive list of acknowledgements to individuals and companies entertaining. Yet, the LOC team pulled it off. We also managed to run two of our signature training games with volunteers eager to play. And finished five minutes ahead of schedule!

We closed with one of our favorite games which invites people to say out loud something that is good in their life. Recognizing and saying the smallest, and sometimes silliest, detail on a bad day can spark a positive connection between people. As the plane descended into LAX, I couldn’t help but smile knowing we achieved what we set out to do: make people feel celebrated and leave them laughing!