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NextUp Leadership Summit Recap

3-day event filled with inspiration and strategies to improve the working world for women
Derek Lewis of PepsiCo
Derek Lewis, of PepsiCo Beverages North America, shared insights at NextUp’s recent 2022 Leadership Summit in Dallas.

We at NextUp held our annual Leadership Summit at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Oct. 19-21 – our first in person since 2019. Over three jam-packed days of learning, we connected with one another and took in the inspiration and strategies that will change the working world for the better for women.

On our first day, keynote speaker Katie Goodman encouraged us to use our creativity to get our ideas out there without letting perfectionism or our inner fears hold us back, while Christine Ruggiero showed us all the value of giving ourselves permission to have our emotions as we process hard things – but then getting ourselves together and being the leaders we need to be.

[Read more: "Advancing All Women in Business"]

The amazing Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, an award-winning researcher, entrepreneur and writer who also appeared at NextUp’s Executive Forum this past August in California, encouraged us to use data-centric research on diversity, equity and inclusion, because that equates to preventive care for an organization. We can each be a sponsor instead of a gatekeeper, intentionally becoming someone who ushers in and equips the next generation.

Shilpa Vadodaria of Amazon,
Shilpa Vadodaria, of Amazon, spoke on the Women in Tech panel.

Insights to Act On

Lorraine Stomski, SVP, associate learning and leadership at Walmart, gave us great advice about using our influence and our voices to support women. Development and opportunities to upskill can improve a diverse talent pipeline. As leaders, we also need to be vulnerable, owning our mistakes and lessons learned, and having truth-tellers in our lives. That makes us better leaders.

The Women in Tech panel was highly informative. The main takeaway was that female leaders in the tech industry must be intentional about creating spaces under them to bring in a diverse group of women, and we have to measure where we are and where we want to go in improving female representation in the tech industry. Inclusion must be approached systemically, and leaders need to sponsor, not just mentor, those that they’re bringing in.

Derek Lewis, president, multicultural business and equity development at PepsiCo Beverages North America, told us that when we gain positions of power, we need to use them. We should immediately take responsibility to hire diversity in thought, skills and looks. Further, we need to make the changes that are translated into day-to-day practices. These are the minute-by-minute actions of everyday business that are necessary to create real change and enable people to be both go-getters and go-givers.

There was so much more learning than we could possibly sum up in a single article — and for all of you who weren’t there, we want you with us next year. Check out to learn more about NextUp, our mission to Advance All Women and our two annual national conferences. 

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