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IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum has been designed to focus on topics that are unique to women in the exhibitions and events industry. It is tailored for all women regardless of age, individual situation or current position held within their company. The Forum will provide knowledge and strategies for attendees to succeed in their current positions, as well as provide motivation and inspiration to take their roles and careers to the next level, allowing them to grow personally and professionally while giving them the tools and resources to balance life along the way.

The forum is a 2 ½ hour program where attendees are eligible to earn 2 continuing education (CE) credit hours.

The 2021 VIRTUAL program was a success!

Over 60 female professionals from the exhibitions industry gathered on 20 April to hear from key experts in the areas of DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), Women in the Workplace Challenges and Solutions from an HR Perspective as well as ways to Stay Resilient Through Self-Care and Positive Mindset.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Women continue to have challenges in the workplace (especially minority women) when it comes to gender equity and organizations must do more. Assessing the current situation and starting conversations are key to establishing a more equitable and inclusive work place.

  • Advancing Equity with an Intersection Lens – Tips for Organizations
    • Establish a shared vocabulary. Ground your organization in shared meaning around gender and race equity, and other terms related to this work. Open a continuous dialogue about gender and race equity work.
    • Seek to understand and uncover your personal biases. Move beyond allyship.
    • Promote sponsorship over mentorship.
    • Identify gender and race equity champions at the board and senior leadership levels.
    • Name gender equity and race equity work as a strategic imperative for your organization. Define and communicate how it connects to your mission, vision, organizational values, and strategies.
    • Disaggregate data. Collect, disaggregate, and report relevant data to get a clear picture of current state, inequities and outcome gaps both internally and externally.
    • Begin to solve equity at the systems level. Prioritize what is most important and start there.

Women in the Workplace: Solutions from an HR Perspective

HR professionals and organizations must become more aware and empathetic of challenges women face in the workplace and find ways to be an extension of support for their employees, adapting to the changing needs brought on by the pandemic.

  • Women in the Workforce Pre-Pandemic
    • Under-represented, earning less than men, leaving the workforce at the same rate as men
  • Women in the Workforce 2020 and NOW
    • Under-represented, earning less than men BUT leaving the workforce at HIGHER rates than men
    • 1 in 4 women are contemplating leaving OR downshifting careers. As many as TWO MILLION – WHY????
  • Challenges for Women – Stress is multiplied for females due to how hormones affect the brain compared to how stress affects males.

Building Resiliency with Self-Care and Positive Mindset

During times of uncertainty and disruption, it is important to be aware of your personal well-being and organizations should be following suit by acknowledging the state of their employees’ well -being and being more empathetic.

  • Happy Employees Are Productive Employees
  • Take time to know your limits and acknowledge your struggles
  • Continue to Build Your Resilience Tool Box
    • Social Circles
    • Savoring
    • Nature
    • Humor
    • Music
    • Reading
    • Reframing Mindset
    • Gratitude
    • Giving
  • Cut yourself some slack and give yourself more credit, no one is perfect.

Meet the Speakers

Tia Graham

Tia Graham
Arrive at Happy

About Tia

Women in the Workforce: Building Resiliency with Self-Care & Positive Mindset

Resilience…the ability to adapt in the face of adversity and bounce back from life’s ups and downs Between an unexpected global pandemic, societal shifts, budget cuts, job losses, natural disasters and much more, one thing you can say about today’s workplace is that it is constantly changing and managing change is a new day-to-day norm.

In many cases, people are being asked to do higher quality work, with fewer resources, in less time, with less money and less staff, in most cases all remotely, along with many women also having to juggle children with homeschooling and/or additional household responsibilities. Seems impossible, right?

Tia Graham shared her solutions for building your resilience during difficult times, achieving wellness and a positive mindset, that helps you notice the good in situations, ultimately boosting your ability to Arrive at Happy.


Emily Holthaus

Emily Holthaus
Managing Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Nonprofit HR

About Emily

Women in the Workforce: Considering Intersectionality to Advance Gender Equity

Intersectionality is a way of understanding how individuals experience inequities on the basis of factors such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, citizenship, ability, and sexual orientation. Intersectional inequities and inequality affect women and visible minorities differently, depending on their social, cultural, and occupational contexts. It takes intentional effort to disrupt this reality.

Diversity and inclusion expert, Emily Holthaus explored the relationship between systems thinking and gender equity, bringing visibility to the experiences and perspectives of women of all races and backgrounds.



Sandra Cepeda McLean, MBA, SPHR, SCP

Sandra Cepeda McLean, MBA, SPHR, SCP
Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Parker University

About Sandra

Women in the Workforce: Creating Solutions from an HR Perspective

What will our workplace landscape look like in 2021 for female professionals? Over the past year, women have been greatly affected, as it relates to the changes and challenges of women in the workplace, balancing the various responsibilities between work and home, and the many changes needed to adapt. Along with the feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, many women are also feeling resentment and guilt…for fear of being seen as “not being able to do it all”, for frustration of “having to do it all”, for being a “survivor” of the workforce layoffs and much more…all of which is a lot to deal with.

For HR professionals, the landscape of the work environment has changed as well. Where policies, procedures and practices come into play, it is crucial in the way that organizations provide support to employees.

Sandra McLean, an executive HR Professional shared how organizations can or should expect to address the changes, taking a look at what work life blend means to employee wellness in the new environment and how providing greater flexibility, empathy, equity and inclusion can impact employee engagement and retention, alleviating or lessening the stress that employees face, and keeping them in the workforce, particularly for women.

Thank You to Our Partner!


Emerald Partner