Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Women attend business luncheon

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Apr 27, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Fairfield ERA Real Estate employees Taylor Murguia, left, and Darin Dowd discuss their thoughts of the luncheon they attended Wednesday in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

More than 100 women gathered in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center Wednesday for a luncheon focusing on women in business.

The event, organized through HER Magazine, was sponsored by The Fairfield Ledger and its sister publications, The Washington Evening Journal and Mt. Pleasant News. The event featured keynote speaker Gale Mote, whose talk was titled “Leadership Doesn’t Just Happen in the C-Suite,” referring to top executives whose titles begin with the letter “C” such as CEO. Mote provided the attendees with practical techniques to lead in whatever role they occupy.

Following Mote’s presentation, assistant director of Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau Terry Baker moderated a panel of local business leaders that included Vicki Harriott (Maharishi University of Management), Carla McNamee (Hearth & Home Technologies), Joy Hirschberg (Green Building Supply), Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company) and Lorraine Williams (Cafe Dodici).

After the luncheon portion of the event, Mote led a workshop that dived into emotional intelligence. She spoke about the importance of finding a happy medium on personality factors, such as stress tolerance. For instance, someone with too little tolerance can be easily rattled by small setbacks, but someone with too much tolerance can come across as not taking a problem seriously.


Attendees react

Fairfield ERA Real Estate had a table for its employees, which included Taylor Murguia and Darin Dowd. Dowd said she particularly enjoyed the workshop at the end of the event. “I didn’t realize that IQ and personality were so fixed, but that emotional intelligence is not,” she said. “I took a personality test when I was 16 years old about what my dream job would be, and I went back to read it recently. It was point on. That resonated with me about how personality is unchangeable.”

Dowd said she’s curious to learn more about emotional intelligence and how it can be changed.

Murguia said she related to Mote’s discussion of flexibility, stress management and self-control as important skills.

“In real estate, you have to be flexible,” she said.

Dowd added, “Like when you receive texts from five people who want to see a house tonight, and you were hoping to go home and lie in bed.”


Strengths and weaknesses

The group took a survey to discover insights about their own emotional intelligence. Attendees wrote down their strengths and weaknesses, then shared what they wrote with the other members of the table.

“Having to say those things out loud makes you think about it a little more,” Murguia said.

Dowd said it was interesting to hear what her own co-workers saw as their strengths and weaknesses.

“I think everyone [on our team] is amazing, so when they’d say a weakness, I’d think, ‘Hmm, I hadn’t noticed that.’ And when they said a strength, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, you’re really good at that!’”

Murguia said that learning what her co-workers regard as weaknesses made her think about ways she could help them.

Dowd and Murguia said it was nice to hear that leaders don’t have to be bosses.

“The receptionist can be a leader,” said Murguia.

“Or anyone who is doing their job very well,” added Dowd.



Dowd said one of her main take-aways was to “be your best self” and to treat everyone with kindness.

“You never know when someone is having a bad day, and that’s why they’re not being as kind with you. You’re only going to make a positive impact when you treat someone kindly,” she said. “Kindness is never going to come back to bite you.”

Mote asked the group how it would feel to be the boss and surrounded by men. Murguia said she knows a bit about being an outsider since she’s the youngest person at her company. She got her realtor’s license at age 18 and started working as a realtor at age 19.

Murguia said the workshop was a good reminder that neither a person’s age, nor gender, nor ethnicity limits their potential.

“Leadership doesn’t have anything to do with those qualities,” she said. “It’s about whether you achieved what you wanted to that day.”



Attendee Kathy Snow said she luncheon inspired her to look in the mirror to ask, “How can I make myself more valuable to a company?”

Snow is self-employed, and her interests include marketing, public relations and communications. What she took away from the luncheon was the need to “put yourself on your own priority list.” She said it was nice to be able to rub shoulders with other women who care about making a difference.

“I’ve known about emotional intelligence for some time, but it was nice to go through that exercise to be honest with yourself about your personality,” she said.

“I really liked Gale Mote, and the panelists were down to earth, too. I learned that you can be a leader in life no matter what position you hold.”


Blazing a trail

Attendee Claudia Edwards said the event was the first professional women’s gathering she’s attended in Iowa, and that it was “phenomenal.”

“It was inspirational on every level with sensible and practical advice,” she said. “My passion has always been to mentor young people, especially young women. It was wonderful to see other people doing that.”

Edwards is retired now, and used to work for United Way in the San Francisco Bay Area. The chairman of United Way at the time, John Grey, was also the president of Standard Oil.

“Standard Oil didn’t even allow women on the five floors of the executive offices,” she said. “When I suddenly became campaign director [of United Way], they didn’t know what to do with me. None of the men’s clubs in San Francisco back then allowed women, either.”

Though treated as an outsider, Edwards endured the discrimination so she could be successful, and allow other women to follow in her footsteps.




Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Joseph Peiffer | Apr 30, 2018 00:10
Posted by: Glen Joseph Peiffer | May 04, 2018 08:33
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