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MST Solutions Hosts Women in Leadership Panel


Leaders are choosing to align their influence with larger movements both for local and global efforts. The event recently held at MST Solutions, “Pathfinder Leadership: Being a Change Agent for Yourself & Others,” involved a panel of inspiring women holding leadership roles, who discussed the ways they have impacted their organizations, communities, and careers by joining the causes they are passionate about within their professions.

Leaders of MST’s Women in Technology program, Jessica Hipskind and Nicole Acevedo, co-moderated the event featuring some of the valleys most influential female leaders. The four women on the panel included Shatha Barbour, CEO and founder of Hera Hub Phoenix, Kim Ho, Corporate Development Officer Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation, Jill Pernice, Executive Project Manager at the Department of Arizona Administration, and Sandra Watson, President and CEO of Arizona Commerce Authority.

Panelists Shatha Barbour, CEO and founder of Hera Hub Phoenix, Kim Ho, Corporate Development Officer Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation, Jill Pernice, Executive Project Manager at the Department of Arizona Administration, and Sandra Watson, President and CEO of Arizona Commerce Authority.

“The definition of pathfinder is a person who goes ahead and discovers or shows others a path or way,” says Jessica, who also states that “we wanted to highlight these women who are not only excelling in their professional careers, but also finding ways to give back to their communities.”

The topics and questions discussed varied, from mentorship to the #metoo movevement and how you are able to accomplish everything you want to when there are limited hours in the day.  Jill responded to the question asked about naming a mentor in their life, and how they have impacted them. Jill talked about how mentorship does not need to be formal, in fact, her mentor was a peer. She said that her peer can be direct with her, give her feedback, and can lift her up when feeling down.

Shatha also left an impact on the audience when she discussed the way she shifts gears when it involves professional life, personal life, and involvement in community advocacy. While some people might ask how she has time to do everything, she responded by saying the key is to prioritize what is best, find that balance, figure out what is the priority for the moment, and shift those gears when you start feeling short in another area.

Kim made sure to highlight the importance of always having to look at the positive side of things and think about how everything you are doing is for a good cause, which can be especially important when you are working in an environment where there can be a lot of emotional moments.

Sandra agreed with the sentiments of her co-panelists. She emphasized how having a good leader and team are ways that help one grow, and how her success comes from the support she has when it comes to work.

Women in Leadership panel attendees.

“One of the themes that came up, again and again, was how to use the hours of the day so that it aligns with what is truly important to you. So for our panelists and our guests to take the time out of their busy lives to spend time lifting each other up and having this discussion is a powerful testament to how much women can accomplish,” says Nicole. Having an esteemed group of amazing women who juggle their professional and personal lives along with being advocates in our community and by helping others along the way is something that we are passionate about and are aspects that we all try to achieve. Once the discussion was over, there was a Q and A, where the audience engaged, and even after that many stuck around to network and discuss the topic of how all of us can become a change agent for yourself and others.

This event was the first Women in Leadership panel for MST and there are plans for a future panel in 2019. To have an esteemed group of amazing women who juggle their professional and personal lives along with being advocates in our community was a great start to this program.