Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Women ‘who own the room’ have these three qualities: Lea Goldman

Goldman was the keynote of the third annual Women in Tech Summit this weekend at WHYY in Old City, as part of Philly Tech Week. Here are the big takeaways from her keynote and the other big presentations from the event.

Women in tech doing what they do best.

(Photo by Flickr user WOCinTech Chat, used under a Creative Commons license)

This is a guest post by Odia Kagan, an attorney in the Corporate and Securities Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP. Her experience includes the representation of technology and startup companies, and advising on issues relating to privacy and data security.

There are three secrets of women “who own the room,” said Lea Goldman, the features and special projects director at Marie Claire magazine.

  1. Gravitas: They have confidence, “grace under fire”, decisiveness, integrity and emotional intelligence. They don’t sell a product – they sell a story, their story.
  2. Superior Communications Skills: They have the ability to command a room, read an audience, be assertive and have a sense of humor. They actively solicit feedback and make the necessary changes.
  3. The appearance of a leader: They take time to “look the part.” People like to invest in people who invest in themselves.

Goldman was the keynote of the third annual Women in Tech Summit this weekend at WHYY in Old City, as part of Philly Tech Week, welcoming nearly 300 throughout the day. All proceeds of the event, which aims to inspire, educate and connect women in the technology industry from the Philadelphia region as well as to pave the way for girls to enter the sector, went to Techgirlz, the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping adolescent girls find STEM interests. (That’s nearly $20,000, according to organizers.)

The theme of the event was “Lead from any Chair” and it was held in three concurrent tracks: “Biztech,” “Lean In” and “Hands On.”

In the “Lean In” panel, “Take a Seat at the Table,” panelists Candice Cook of Ca-Co Global, Brigette Daniel of Wilco Electronics Systems and Liz Smith of Alliance Global Services, moderated by Goldman, gave a theme of “If you are not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

The panelists encouraged women to do the following:

  • Always negotiate, “because the men do.”
  • Recognize the value they have to offer and fight for themselves.
  • Know what they want.
  • Look for people who will give them honest feedback and “tell it like it is.”
  • Be persistent.
  • Don’t take things personally. It’s about the work.
  • Realize that brick walls are for other people, not for them.

In the “Lean In” panel, “Don’t Leave Before You Leave,” panelists Cristina Martin Greysman of SunGard Availability Services, Natalie Hirsch of WizeHive and Leah Fox of eBay Enterprise, moderated by Bridget Gleason of Yesware, explained that:


  • Women can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time.
  • Women should prioritize, be happy with what they can do and be realistic about what they cannot.
  • Realize that it is a marathon and not a sprint.
  • Take calculated risks. You have more regret about not taking an opportunity than taking it and it not working out.

In the closing keynote speech, “Having a Big, Audacious Vision for Yourself and Acting on It,” Kathleen Warner, COO and founding member of Startup America Partnership shared her framework for a powerful life and an achievable mission:

  • Give yourself permission to embrace the idea of your future self that “causes your stomach to knot and your knees to shake.”
  • Know your core, your strengths, your passions and what you are not great at.
  • Set goals and deadlines but don’t be afraid to change course.
  • Build meaningful relationships.
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Expect and embrace obstacles and challenges.
  • Pay it forward — visibly.

Find Philadelphia Business Journal coverage of the event here.

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