Not all superheroes wear capes – some wear business suits.
The Advancing Women in Nashville (AWIN) group embraces this mindset, making their recent “Nashville Sheroes” conference an ideal speaking engagement for U.S. Bank executive Gunjan Kedia, an advocate for women, diversity and inclusion, and vice chairman of the company’s Wealth Management and Investment Services business line
Kedia (pictured above) spoke to more than 200 attendees about women who have affected change through building their careers as well as their own financial resources. She shared the mountains women still need to conquer, including balancing a family and career, and the gender-based disparity in income. And she showed her commitment to doing her part to breaking down these barriers by leading the way with diversity and inclusion, staying in game, not apologizing for her style, voting and making sure her voice is heard.
“When we stand up for ourselves, we stand up for all women,” said Kedia, in a nod to the sentiment expressed by Maya Angelou. “When women leverage their super powers, changes are made.”
Amanda Weeks-Geveden, AWIN co-founder and U.S. Bank Wealth Management team lead, was excited to host the event.
“Gunjan’s presentation resonated with so many people,” said Weeks-Geveden (pictured below). “Women want to hear other leaders’ success stories and how they got there. The conference was about owning your super power – when you understand the value you bring to the team, that’s when you’re most successful.”
The event was sponsored by Ankura and featured panel discussions, networking opportunities and strategic planning sessions. Other speakers included Middle Tennessee State University professor Amy Harris, who unveiled details of a new workforce study analyzing gender representation in managerial jobs in Middle Tennessee, Tracy Kornet of Channel 4 WSMV, Cher Porties of UPS and Linda Peek Schacht, a former communications and public affairs executive at The Coca-Cola Company and senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Weeks-Geveden and attorney Mekesha Montgomery founded AWIN earlier this year. The group currently consists of women leaders from 12 corporate entities in Nashville, with plans to add more members in 2020. The group focuses on building women’s diversity and career advancement and development.
“There wasn’t a career development group for women corporate leaders in Nashville. Our career paths and development needs are different from those in other industries,” Weeks-Geveden said. “I have been thrilled by the level of support we’ve had from U.S. Bank and our Women’s Business Resource Group for employees, as well as the other AWIN members’ companies.”
In addition to covering leadership development during the monthly meetings, AWIN invites a local organization that supports women or girls to present information on their mission.
“Everything we discuss is to help women grow, whether that’s in their careers or in their communities. We use positive peer pressure to help them make sure they’re moving the needle in their desired direction,” said Weeks-Geveden.
Adding, “We’re trying to make Nashville the it city for women in business.”
Written by Stephanie Edwards of U.S. Bank.