SOUTHFIELD – A packed house of 300 middle and high school girls heard a message of empowerment and inspiration Friday at the second annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference, organized by Lawrence Technological University’s College of Business and Information Technology.
Keynote speaker Lynn M. Torossian, president and CEO of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, offered attendees plenty of ideas on embarking on successful careers. Among them:
- Have self-confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
- Dream big and believe you can. Having big dreams tends to fade as we get older, Torossian said, and it shouldn’t.
- Stand up for your beliefs and stand up for yourself. Courage, she said, isn’t the absence of fear – it’s the ability to move forward in the face of fear.
- Support other women – they need you, and you need them. She told attendees to mentor and sponsor other women and give them direct feedback.
- Be yourself. Be authentic.
Torossian repeatedly recalled her “seventh-grade self,” a girl who forced her school district to allow her to try out for the boys’ basketball team because there wasn’t a girls’ team, going all the way to the school board. The school hastily arranged an intramural program for girls, but guess what, Torossian said: “I didn’t want to play basketball. I wanted to make a point.”
Torossian now leads a 191-bed, $360 million hospital that opened in 2009, and is active in many professional and community organizations.
After Torossian’s presentation, a panel of women executives offered attendees advice on networking, career preparation, and success on the job in the face of bias against women in leadership. The event wrapped up Friday afternoon with breakout sessions and leadership development exercises.
Lawrence Tech officials said that besides the capacity audience, more than 100 young women were on a waiting list to attend the event.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.