AdCellerant co-founder Shelby Carlson was among nearly 40 finalists for this year’s Denver Business Journal Outstanding Women in Business awards last week. The event and its attendees empowered women to keep climbing high, seeking out mentors, and giving back to their community. While Carlson wasn’t a winner at the event, she said it was an honor to be recognized as a finalist.
“All the nominees’ and finalists’ achievements and contributions to our community are simply astonishing,” Carlson said. “I could not have been more humbled to be recognized alongside them and heed their advice in business and in life.”
Award winners focused their acceptance remarks on giving back, encouraging others to seek out mentors (both male and female) and to confidently reach for roles in leadership. Kate Paul, former President and CEO of Delta Dental of Colorado, was awarded this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her opening keynote set the tone for the event, and offered a roadmap for women and men to reach higher for success in business and in life. Below is a summary of the ‘lessons’ she offered from her career of experience in healthcare and business.
- Lesson 1: Be fearless
- Lesson 2: Play to your strengths and figure out strategies to address your weaknesses
- Lesson 3: Great education is critical. Not the letters but the learning.
- Lesson 4: Keep a sense of humor. It can deflect tough situations and folks will love it.
- Lesson 5: Manage your life in and outside of work. People are watching you and reading into your behavior.
- Lesson 6: Take care of yourself. Take vacations, and when you do, really unplug.
- Lesson 7: Be engaged and give back to the community and to other women.
- Lesson 8: Take an assignment if you think you can win or break even. Opportunities can be a big win if you make visible improvements.
- Lesson 9: Diplomacy and good etiquette counts. Always send thank you notes.
- Lesson 10: Your women friends and supporters are great but you need male mentors too, especially early in your career.
- Lesson 11: Don’t be afraid to speak your power.
- Lesson 12: Continue your education throughout your life.
- Lesson 13: Karma is real. Those who behave badly get their just reward.
- Lesson 14: Do what you say you will do. And say no if you can’t
- Lesson 15: Be compassionate of others, especially those you work with.
Paul summed up her remarks with her philosophy on life.
“Life is too short to eat bad food, drink bad wine, do a job you don’t like or be with people you can’t abide,” she said.
We were so inspired by the actions and words of the outstanding women in business. One woman spoke jokingly about her Facebook friend who asked ‘Why isn’t there an Outstanding Men in Business award?’ She replied on stage by saying there are several awards that do not take into account gender, race or other labels. But awards like these must exist to recognize a group that has been disenfranchised for the obstacles they have overcome. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why at AdCellerant, celebrating one of our Outstanding Women in Business isn’t enough – we’re taking it a step further.
We’d like to use this opportunity to make our pledge to keep diversity and inclusion at the core of our business and hiring practices. We are committing to some of the same tenants found in the CEO Act!on for Diversity & Inclusion, including:
- Making our workplace a trusting environment to have complex and sometimes difficult conversations about diversity and inclusion.
- Implementing and expanding unconscious bias education that helps our employees recognize and minimize their potential blind spots.
- Establishing programs and initiatives around diversity and inclusion.
We are still evolving in our workplace to ensure that all our employees know the benefits of a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. Thank you to the DBJ and the Outstanding Women in Business for their inspiration and action, and for making our business community a more inclusive and diverse place.
~ Melissa Sheehan, VP of Sales