On Friday, June 4, 2014, Janice Moceri, a Senior Manager in our Buffalo office took part in a panel discussion at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s POWERUP! event, which was held at amazing showroom and event space Artisan Kitchen and Baths. Local Western New York female professionals with all types of experience, insight and career aspirations shared stories of their personal struggles and setbacks, and how those experiences have actually driven their success. The event was held to educate, inform and share information, promote women in the workplace, and to emphasize the role they play in business, our community and our relationships with one another, both personally and professionally.

Check out our Storify link to hear more about what we learned and follow our Twitter coverage of the event: https://storify.com/FreedMaxickCPAs/powerupbn-event-what-we-learned

The event featured a keynote address by Maureen Hurley from national company, headquartered here in Buffalo, Rich Products, and was moderated by Jacquie Walker, who is a news broadcaster for WIVB-TV, Channel 4. Our Firm had a total of 11 female professionals attend the event, and there were many takeaways from the topics discussed. Janice had an important message that she gathered from the discussion, and thought it could apply to all women in professional settings.

“We can’t pretend that there are no differences between men and women, after all women are not just ‘men in skirts,’” Janice said. “We need to start talking about these differences and empower each other to get over the hurdles that will allow us to be successful in both our professional and personal lives.  We need to start giving ourselves the credit that we deserve and stop feeling guilty and taking things personally and begin to build our confidence in ourselves and our work product to know our worth.”

Michelle Sullivan, a Director in the Buffalo office, said that she learned to not be afraid of challenges, to take risks, put yourself out there, outside of your comfort zone, and to aim high. “Do not be afraid to fail, and even if you do fail, you will learn something in the process that will help you in the future,” she noted.

Rachel Ashcroft, from our Buffalo Audit department, thought it was helpful to be in a room with other women who may or may not be experiencing the same issues as others. She learned that women need to talk to each other like men seem to do, helping one another along, and act as a mentor or use the mentors you have available to you.

Rachel also said she learned that women need to be confident and to not change themselves, for instance,  knowing your strengths and weaknesses and applying them appropriately in the workplace. And overall, Rachel learned to keep an eye on the grand scheme of things. What seems like a large setback may not be as big of a deal as you think it is.

Antoinette Rost, a member of our Buffalo EAS department said that she took away a few good points that she will use to improve herself. She said that she learned to lead from your strengths, and to not let the voice in your head hold you back. She said she also learned to find a mentor, and to document your accomplishments and to do a realistic assessment of yourself. Antoinette’s favorite piece of advice from the discussion was that you can’t control setbacks that occur, but you can control how you respond to them.

Jennifer Hamberger, the Firm’s CMO had a few key points to share as well. They include:

  • In general, the whole program reinforced that women are tougher, better multi-taskers and capable of achieving great success – even when dealing with major life issues.  We can accomplish amazing things, yet we still seem to lack the confidence to have a voice because we fear repercussions.  We need to be more comfortable taking risks.
  • When confronted by an obstacle, the correct response is to ask oneself: “What are you going to do about it?” Make a plan.
  • Figure out what you stand for as a leader and then be yourself.  Don’t try to be someone else because it’s not genuine or comfortable for anyone least of all yourself.

The discussion and event was a way for women, and even a few men, to network with one another, and take part in a healthy, organic discussion about work, life and beyond. Events such as these will surely spark more discussions in the future on the best ways to empower and engage the women from Freed and the business community.

We’re excited to have taken part and look forward to future events to help promote our E.A.R.N (Employee Advancement and Retention Network) initiative, an internal program designed to help our employees develop as professionals, learn, network, collaborate with one another and develop new business.

Great job taking part in the panel and sharing your story, Janice!

Check out some photos of the event here: