Women's Forum 2024 

2024 Women's Forum - Leading Out Loud
Thursday, April 11th
Embassy Suites by Hilton Milwaukee Brookfield

The WSAE Women’s Forum convened this year with the theme “Leading Out Loud”. Amidst the buzzwords of authenticity, resilience, innovation, and work/life integration, women leaders came together to ignite conversations, share insights, and amplify their voices. Authenticity, resilience, innovation, and work/life integration were the hot terms and topics at this year’s WSAE Women’s Forum.

Keynote Highlights:

  • Sherry Budziak – The Heart of the Matter: Innovation and Leadership Strategies for Women As the Founder and CEO, .OrgSource, Sherry Budziak shared the stage. She urged us to buckle up for the digital landscape and shared that by 2039, 80 percent of us will be interacting with robots on a regular basis. But amidst technology, she emphasized the HEART Framework – a reminder that the human side of work matters. Stories, tools, and real problem-solving connect us all.
  • Shirley Burks – Saying “NO” to Burnout

Shirley Burks, a true change agent, delivered a powerful message. “NO” is a complete sentence. Women must empower themselves to use it. Her practical tips for avoiding burnout included:

  • Asking for help
  • Journaling
  • Power naps
  • Mediation
  • Taking Breaks
  • Prioritizing good nutrition
  • Regular exercise
  • Reading enriching books
  • Dr. Stacia Thompson – Guiding Women Leaders

Dr. Stacia Thompson, President and CEO of the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, closed the Forum with wisdom. Her guidance on how to lead included her own set of the Five P’s which include: Pivot – always keep one foot grounded but look around for other options; Pass – ask for help and recognize when you cannot do something; Pause -check yourself and make sure you are staying well and healthy and thinking things through; Patience – sometimes no isn’t no forever it’s just for right now; and Personal Board of Directors – friends and mentors that you can bounce ideas off of and will be honest with you.

Beyond these keynotes, breakouts included sessions on mentorship, inspiring the next generation of future women leaders, assertiveness and authenticity, and real-life leadership scenarios. Some of the best networking moments took place when attendees were asked to interact with peers at their tables. As a first-time attendee I walked away from this event feeling like I could reach out to any of the attendees in the future for support and guidance.

The Leading Out Loud Forum was a celebration of women who lead boldly, inspire change, and create a harmony of voices.

Helen Horner, DES
Senior Director Education Programs
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
WSAE Education Committee Member