2016 W.I.S.E. Summit Recap

Heather EisenbauerBy Heather Eisenhauer, Customer Service Manager, Pferd Inc.

As I tied my shoelaces and set forth to run the cobblestone streets of Charleston, S.C., that first Monday morning of the 2016 W.I.S.E Summit, my mind flooded with feelings of excitement, anticipation and a little nervousness. As a brand-new member and first-time attendee, with each step I took I wondered whether or not the group would be a good fit, if the topics would be relevant, and if the networking would be beneficial. As I finished my run and took in the refreshing harbor air, I quickly recognized that Charleston is more than a place. It is an experience that is meant to leave a lasting impression on anyone that is lucky enough to have encountered it.

By the end of the 2016 W.I.S.E. Summit, it struck me that I had that exact same feeling about the event.

2016 W.I.S.E. Summit picMonday’s activities began with a community service project at the Low County Food Bank of Charleston. We all worked together in an effort to sort, stage and prepare food to be generously donated to those less fortunate. For me, there is no better way to get to know someone than by digging through pallets of food and getting your hands dirty – literally! No name tags were handed out. Just simple handshakes, smiles and light-hearted conversation.

As the afternoon activities came to a close, we returned to the Doubletree Hilton in the historic district of Charleston to enjoy a wonderful evening of cocktails and dinner. We embellished ourselves in southern belle adornments, and laughter ensued. I realized this group was designed for greater things than simple networking. It was far too genuine to be considered anything less than a group founded on mutual respect, appreciation, and gratitude for its members.

2016 W.I.S.E. Summit pic

Kelly Joyce Tschady

The following morning was the official kickoff of the Summit.  Amazing speakers shared their insight on topics ranging from market trends, to organizational culture and change, as well as personal safety and protection. The high level of engagement and participation was something that really spoke to me as a new member. The conversation mattered, from the well-rehearsed and thoughtful presenters down to the W.I.S.E. participants (both veteran and first-time). Dialogue continued as we all met in the lobby and took a short walk to a local restaurant, The Peninsula Grill, to enjoy some outdoor southern charm and indulge on delicious crab cakes and succotash.

Wednesday came much more quickly than I had anticipated. 74 women gathered together to wrap the Summit with dialogue surrounding our strengths and talents as individuals and professionals. I felt as if the conversation made us all stop and reevaluate what we are obligated to bring to the table as professionals, not because we should, but because we can. The focus was no longer on our shortcomings and areas with which we need to improve, but rather on what we can provide in an effort to drive change and improvement within the organizations we represent.

I sensed a shift in myself as I said farewell to the incredibly intelligent and accomplished women I had the opportunity of spending the last 3 days with. I felt empowered, grateful and energized for the road ahead. This group is genuine and designed to do great things. I am honored to be a part of it.

2016 W.I.S.E. Summit pic

Click this link for a PDF to read more about the Summit

If you are an ISA member, click this link to access post-Event wrap up materials

Download Now