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Forum draws 200 senior industry leaders

Thursday, August 11, 2011  
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Some 200 industry leaders took a crash course on executing strategy and making their visions come to life at the fifth annual Network of Executive Women Executive Leaders Forum, July 19-21, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

The by-invitation event, held at the Terranea Resort, featured cpg/retail industry standouts who shared their personal experiences and insights, including Michael Bender, executive vice president of Walmart U.S. and president of Walmart West, and Craig Herkert, president and CEO of SUPERVALU.

Bender urged attendees to be humble and listen to their team members, to keep learning and keep their work and personal lives in balance. "As much as I love what I do, I won't let it be my sole identity," Bender said. "I'll always give 110 percent to my career, but I cultivate my personal interests -- family, friends and many other things -- so I can be fulfilled."

Herkert shared "Ten Business Lessons I Learned by Heart,” noting it is "vitally important to be wildly aware" of customers' ethnicities and religions and what they're shopping for. "You have to take the time to appreciate people," he said.

Leaders "set the tone,” Herkert told the mostly female audience. "You've got to make people excited about where they work. You must build enthusiasm for your strategy, make it fun to come to work. Show you care. Every name on the org chart is a living, breathing person.”

Sally Helgesen, author of The Female Vision: Unlocking Your Real Power at Work, explained how women can achieve top leadership positions. She was followed by a roundtable of top executives who covered women and board service, steering both company and career in a new direction.

The Forum's also offered three concurrent educational sessions and an opportunity for peer learning.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, told a mostly female audience at the NEW Executive Leaders Forum here to "be fearless--women’s leadership is more important than ever.”

"Leadership is about seeing the iceberg before it hits the Titanic," she said in her closing keynote address. "We as women, as mothers, have gotten used to looking for the trouble ahead. There's something about that instinct that makes us special,” she said. "If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters it might still be around.”

"The key to leadership is how we react to the bad things that happen each day,” Huffington said. "It's not really about preventing bad things from happening but how we choose to respond," she says. "The more I've taken care of myself, by getting sleep and clearing my head, the better I am at reacting to the bad things."

Forum Chair Catherine Lindner, vice president of retail marketing for Walgreen Company, emceed the conference. Joan Chow, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for ConAgra Foods, was the Forum's executive advisor.

Walmart's Bender urges leaders to listen and learn

Supervalu CEO says diversity makes teams smarter

‘Be fearless,” Huffington tells Forum women

Blogs from all sessions

Executive Leaders Forum photo album 

NEWTube video highlights

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