Six powerful women participated in the ADL Womens Initiative Women’s Summit on International Women’s Day. ADL’s Southwest Region partnered with the Houston Rockets to feature a panel of speakers who each had broken the glass ceiling and continue to inspire women to strive for recognition and equity.
The panel, moderated by AT&T Sportsnet Anchor Julia Morales, included former WNBA champion and current TSU coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consulatant Tamika Curry Smith, student, influencer and Eagle scout Alex Lewis and Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Dr. Laura Murillo. The panel discussion was bookended by remarks from ADL Womens Initiative Chair Yvonne Harris.
The noon event began with ADL Southwest Regional Board Chair Mark Trachtenberg, who welcomed participants and handed it over to Harris. She spoke about what a joy it was to serve as chair of the Womens Initiative and noted the “Choose to Challenge” theme of the summit was one to which the ADL was committeed.
Then sportscaster Morales led the panel’s portion of the presentation by telling her own story of working in a male-dominated profession and having to prove she could cover sports well even though she was a woman. She asked others what inspired them to “choose to challenge.”
Hispanic Chamber CEO Dr. Murillo said some of her confidence came from watching her daughter Mia on the basketball court during a game in which both boys and girls played. Nobody would pass Mia the ball, until a little boy named Stephen decided to give Mia a chance and when Mia got the ball from him, she scored the game’s winning basket.
Former WNBA star Cooper-Dyke said “there was never a moment where I’ve allowed other people’s actions to determine my success. I kept a laser focus on the goals I set for myself and my family.”
Eagle Scout Alex Lewis, who goes by the pronoun “they,” said watching their older brother become an Eagle Scout inspired them. They had virtually grown up in scouting, and they made a month-by-month plan to achieve Eagle Scout within two years: half the time it normally would take.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant Tamika Curry Smith had numerous DEI jobs before she opened her own firm, but she said it was a calling for her. She grew up in a very diverse neighborhood in Detroit, and she saw diversity “as a good thing that really enhanced our lives,” so she was driven to promote it.
Throughout the conversation, the panelists praised and encouraged each other, as well as expressed that same encouragement for attendees of the webinar. All of them agreed women shouldn’t let obstacles to advancement stand in their way, and that firm commitment toward goals would go a long way toward achieving them.
Watch the whole webinar here.