LA Living

Inspiring Women at Ford’s Women’s Month Event

Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly at Soho House in Los Angeles for Women's Month

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly led the “Today’s Woman – Built Tough” breakfast panel on March 11 at the Soho House in Los Angeles, creating a conversation around female empowerment.

Connelly shared the panel stage with Amy Howe, COO, Ticketmaster North America at Live Nation Entertainment Sandra Lopez, Director, Business and Marketing Strategy for Wearable Tech in Fashion, Sabrina Soto, HGTV Designer, and Bonnie Pan, Executive Vice President Programming Makers Studios.

The conversation left audience members uplifted and hopeful for the future of women’s place in society, for which Connelly gives all credit to the women on the panel.

“Never before have I laughed as much, learned more, or been more inspired,” said Connelly. “They showcased their stories in a way that inspired everyone.”

Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly at Soho House in Los Angeles for Women's Month

Mentorship As a Career Move

Connelly posed a question to the panel about mentorship and told a story about herself when she was starting out in her career.

“I remember waiting around for someone to mentor me. I kept thinking someone would come up and pat me on the shoulder and say, ‘hey there little lady, I’d like to mentor you.’ And that never happened.”

Connelly went on to talk about how it’s not really ever that formalized. “We forget that if we have friends we can turn to, someone who can look over your resume, or someone you can ask for guidance, then you have a mentor.”

A Powerful Moment

Sabrina Soto held the audience in rapt silence as she told her story of moving with her family from New Jersey to Southern California, after which, her father abandoned her, her mother and brother, leaving them homeless. This experience left Soto feeling strongly that she never wanted to be dependent on a man, so that, even without a formalized role model, she was driven to succeed on her own.

It would be easy to conclude that Soto has had an easy time of it, gaining success based on her beauty and charm, but her success has been hard fought, she says.

Sheryl Connelly, Ford's Futurist

Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s Futurist

The Future of Leadership is Softer

Connelly pointed out that ten years ago no one measured the EQ (emotional quotient) of a CEO as well as their IQ, but now you can find articles ranking those business leaders with the highest EQ all the time. “I think there’s a growing awareness of the need for a softer side to Leadership. Developing people is part of the job.”

“If you look at the top 100 companies to work for, check out their lists of unusual perks. Some companies offer paid sabbaticals, and others offer life coaching. I see it as a way to help nurture the whole person.”

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of MomsLA.com.

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