Emerging Leaders Explore Bold Change for Women in our Community

Jordan McKerneyCheck out our guest post by Jordan McKerney, marketing writer with Colliers International and co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Committee.


Studies show that women reinvest up to 90 percent of their incomes back into their families, compared with 35 percent for men. When you think about this, it’s clear that to build a community where people have homes, students graduate and families are financially stable, the economic stability and advancement of women is essential.

That’s why more than 200 Emerging Leaders recently came together for our Speaker Series Women in Leadership Panel in celebration of International Women’s Day.

women in leadership panel

Photo credit: Sharon Harris via Instagram

We had the chance to hear from a panel of inspiring female leaders in our business community, who each shared valuable insights into the ways they have built their careers, sought out leadership positions and actively give back to their communities.

Our panel moderator, United Way of King County’s Director of Financial Stability Lauren McGowan, kicked off the event by highlighting this year’s International Women’s Day theme: Be Bold for Change. The theme of boldness came up throughout the evening in our panelist’s insights.

Katherine Cheng, Expedia’s head of corporate citizenship and community relations, spoke about the way she’s never shied away from allowing her interests and passions to guide her career decisions and community involvements. Coming from a family who immigrated to the U.S., her firm belief in fairness and equality informed the way she gives back and the way she has pursued the career roles she knew she was right for.

Ginnie Roeglin, a senior vice president at Costco, echoed a similar theme in urging the audience not to fear failure. Her career path has been shaped by a willingness to step into new areas and learn on the job — always being ready to take on more.

Robin Mendelson, director of Amazon’s Physical Media businesses, put it this way: don’t be your own roadblock. Listen to the people around you who see your potential and believe them. Don’t pull back from opportunities you might not be quite ready for — that’s the only way you grow!

Each of the panelists works for a company that is making great strides in women’s advancements in the workplace. From Costco’s Journeys women’s network (which Ginnie helped to create) to Amazon’s affinity groups like Women in Engineering and Women in Finance, the panelists reminded the audience that each of these efforts is the result of women coming together to boldly pursue change. It only takes a few people to create a movement.

The perfect way to end our evening was by bringing the focus back to supporting women in our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable and in need of assistance. At the event and even afterwards, Emerging Leaders donated to support women (and you can too!). A gift of just $10 will support career coaching for women fleeing domestic violence. $50 will help women at risk of eviction stay in their homes. And $100 will empower immigrant and refugee women to advocate for their children’s education.

I left the event feeling thoroughly inspired. Certainly by the wisdom of our panelists, but also by the insightful questions, enthusiasm and generosity of my fellow Emerging Leaders. I know that many of the 200 people in the room that night are going to be the ones leading bold change in the years to come.

Check out the Emerging Leaders calendar and join us at our next event for young professionals. 

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