Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium to highlight equality, productivity

Women often find gender-based challenges at the workplace, and having an organization or community stand with them as they rise to meet these challenges is an essential part of learning to thrive in the office.

That is where events such as the Women’s Business Symposium come in to help. This event, now in its third year, will take place May 17 for women in and around Metro Detroit at Cobo Center.

Organizers describe the Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium as one of the most sought-after events in Michigan and includes opportunities for valuable leadership development content and enhanced networking. The event provides a platform developed specifically for women business owners, executives and professionals at all levels looking to Learn, Connect & Grow professionally, personally and financially with other influential businesswomen within their communities.

Well-known keynote
This year’s keynote will come from actor and equality advocate Geena Davis. As the Founder and Chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Davis engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters and reduce gender stereotyping in media made for children 11 and under. At this year’s event, Davis will present “See Jane: Gender Equality and Why It Should Matter to All of Us.”

Davis, an Academy Award winning actor, film producer, writer and founder of multiple women’s initiatives, earned the 2006 Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.” In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “The Accidental Tourist.”

She was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in “Thelma & Louise,” and went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of baseball phenomenon Dottie Hinson in “A League of Their Own.”

A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Alternatives for Girls. The Detroit-based nonprofit has served homeless and high-risk girls and young women since 1987. Driven by the goal to empower the girls and young women to make positive choices, AFG provides critical services, including safe shelter, street outreach and educational support, vocational guidance, mentoring, prevention activities, and counseling.

Chef Jamie Gwen will again serve as the emcee for the event. Gwen is a Culinary Institute of America graduate, celebrity chef, syndicated radio host, certified sommelier and a seven-time cookbook author.

The following speakers round out the all-star lineup for this year’s Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium in Greater Detroit:

• Mallika Chopra: The media entrepreneur, speaker and founder of authored “Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy” that shared personal stories and insights gained while seeking balance as an entrepreneur who felt she was overwhelmed by work, family and too many responsibilities. Chopra recently wrote “Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement and More,” which inspires kids to learn how to deal with stress, sleep better, build self-confidence, and manage the anxiety so many of them face today, as well as “100 Promises to My Baby” and “100 Questions from My Child.” She travels internationally for workshops on meditation and balance, as well as speaks regularly at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

• Crystal Washington: Crystal Washington, CSP, is a Futurist, Technology Strategist, and Author. She works with organizations that want to leverage technology to increase profits and productivity. Technology includes social media, apps, smartphones, and the web. Hired by companies including Google, Microsoft, and GE, companies in North America, Africa and Europe book Crystal Washington when they want their teams to take action online! Crystal is the author of “One Tech Action: An Efficiency Guide for Busy Non-techie Professionals to Get More Done” and “The Social Media Why: A Busy Professional’s Practical Guide to Using Social Media.”

Comerica Bank, a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated, has served Michigan longer than any other bank with a continuous presence dating back 170 years to its Detroit founding in 1849. It is the largest bank employer in metro Detroit and has more than 4,800 employees (FTE) statewide.