Last week, I had the honor of attending the Seattle Chamber’s Women in Business and Leadership Initiative (WIBLI) Fall Symposium along with Michelle Maggs, Weber Shandwick Seattle’s general manager. The event brought more than 120 powerful women (and as the speakers joked, a few good men) together to discuss issues affecting the Seattle community and how women can make a significant impact simply by speaking up.

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Following opening remarks from Maud Daudon, the Chamber CEO and President, Senator Patty Murray delivered the keynote speech. Sen. Murray was the first woman from Washington elected to the U.S. Senate and has spurred major progress on policies affecting women such as wage equality and childcare benefits. Several times during her speech, she emphasized the value that women bring to the table when we are brave enough to voice our opinions.

She shared a personal story about how, by speaking up as a concerned college student at Washington State University (WSU), she convinced the school to lift the policy that required women to wear dresses, not pants, to dinner year-round. If you’ve visited Pullman, Washington in the winter, you can understand how impractical (and archaic) that rule was. To WSU’s female students reading this, you can thank Sen. Murray the next time you slip on leggings and UGG® boots for dinner on those cold winter nights. In keeping with the collaborative environment of the event, the senator finished up with an informal Q&A session.

Following the keynote, afternoon speakers included:

  • Wendy Gillihan, Gryffin Consulting (speaker)
  • Holly Hinton, Starbucks (panel participant)
  • Gloria Connors, Connors & Co (panel participant)
  • Kate Becker, Seattle Office of Film & Music (panel moderator)


The symposium offered a positive forum to discuss issues affecting women and our community. We were thrilled to attend and look forward to more exciting Seattle Chamber events in the future!    

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