The inaugural Women in Business and Leadership Initiative (WIBLI) Awards luncheon was recently held at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, which I was able to attend with several of my Weber Shandwick Seattle colleagues. Here’s what I learned:

1. What WIBLI is all about

WIBLI was founded by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber in 2014 with a focus on empowering women in business and leadership roles in our community.

The WIBLI program has two key goals: to connect women and to close the gender wage gap in our region, which is one of the highest in the nation. In her welcome speech, Maud Daudon, President and CEO of Seattle Metro Chamber, said we have “a long way to go before our prosperity…is truly all-inclusive.” Pamela Banks, president and CEO of Urban League Seattle, encouraged attendees “to inspire, to lead” other women to join us in this movement toward equality.

2. Women are inspiring

Between Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Leija Farr’s incredibly powerful poem, “The Beast,” and the many accomplishments of the award nominees, it was impossible to leave the luncheon without feeling inspired. WIBLI Female Leader of the Year award winner Patricia M. Bedient, CMO at Weyerhauser, supports women by actively mentoring and encouraging them  to “ask for what they want” as they progress in their careers. This reminded me of Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” —  a type of woman many of us idolize.

In my day-to-day, I’m inspired by the representation of strong, intelligent and driven women at Weber Shandwick Seattle. I love coming into work each day surrounded by people passionate about the work we do, and the community we do it in. It’s truly an empowering environment.

3. What we can do

Keeping up with local initiatives, such as the 100% Talent gender equity initiative for King County, is a great way to become part of the conversation and continue forward-moving progress toward closing the gender pay gap in our region. I will personally be following and telling others about this initiative and others like it.

For a deeper look into the 100% Talent initiative and what it aims to accomplish, keep an eye out for part two.


Alix Spurgeon is a digital and technology intern at Weber Shandwick and a University of Idaho alumna. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


Photo credit: Seattle Chamber of Commerce

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