Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — “A Woman’s Journey in 2021 — This Path Belongs to You” was the theme of a virtual symposium Thursday.
The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Leadership Kauai and LEI of Kaua‘i’s (Lady Entrepreneurs + Innovtors, leiofkauai.com) presented the symposium.
Mark Perriello, chamber president, opened the event with an empowering story about helping a talented woman attorney get a job in the first administration of former President Barrack Obama.
Perriello was working as director of diversity for the Legal Services Corporation in Washington at that time, and ran into problems trying to get her an interview because she didn’t have an Ivy-League education, an asset that most of the attorneys who were working for Obama at the time posessed.
“I could not get her an interview if my life depended on it,” Perriello said. “It took me two years before I got her first interview. And when she did go in for the interview, as expected, she blew everyone away.”
Eventually, the woman was brought onto that administration and was put in charge of all of the hiring for domestic agencies. And, eventually, this woman who graduated from Catholic University ended up the person the president trusted to hire all of his attorneys and his administration moving forward.
“And the reason I tell this story is because no matter what we are doing, there are obstacles that we need to overcome,” Perriello said. “And the way that you can overcome them is by working together (and) by fighting for people that you believe in.”
Within the five-hour event, there were over 20 guest speakers, all women, telling their stories, being transparent, and all concluding, “No one really knows what they are doing. They are just pretending at first, or faking it to make it, and it’s OK. You will find your way,” said Robbie Melton, director of the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center for Kaua‘i county.
Happy with the event was Anna Baudouin, chamber membership coordinator.
“The event was absolutely phenomenal,” Baudouin said. “We have so many incredible women in this community, and having so many of them come together to uplift and connect with each other was truly an amazing and beautiful experience.
“There really are no words to describe how wonderful the event was and how thankful I am to the team of people that helped put it together, the speakers and moderators, the sponsors and donors, and the attendees who joined us today. I’m truly moved and overjoyed.”
Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.
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