Smart Woman Summit connected, supported and celebrated leaders

“I see you. I hear you. I’ve got you.” Some days that is what leaders need to hear before returning to the public planning stage. The 8th annual Smart Woman Summit at New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square was dedicated to event professionals who perform at the highest levels.

“By recognizing brilliance, we encourage more exceptional work and normalize stepping up, innovating and taking chances,” said Marin Bright, Smart Meetings founder and CEO. “By leveraging our collective resources to elevate each other, we benefit the entire industry. You are like colorful butterflies transforming after too long in your chrysalises, emerging into the light, ready to take flight.”

Women who have been there and learned a thing or two along the way shared actionable tips about resilience and grit. It was a day that addressed the hearts and minds of attendees.

Time for a Brain Shift

Dr. Romie Romila Mushtaq, who spoke the two sentences that kicked off this story, is a triple board-certified brain doctor, award-winning speaker and chief wellness officer with Evolution Hospitality and an expert in calming the busy brain. Her brainSHIFT for your brain, body and team called for setting up a regular time to sleep and wake up, turning off devices, journaling or brainDUMPing (“If you think it, ink it.”) and learning to take a brainPAUSE. “You are responsible for the energy you bring into the room,” she said. “Choose calm.”

Learn More: Listen to Smart Chat Live! Wellness Matters Webinar with Dr. Romie

The Science of Achieving

woman speaking on a stage
Michelle Roark

Michelle Roark, an Olympic athlete, scientist and CEO of Phia Lab, shared her experience overcoming homelessness to achieve her dreams of being an Olympic athlete, a chemical engineer and an entrepreneur, helping others tap into their constructive frequencies. “When you are in alignment and consistent and positive, the universe sends you what you need at the right time,” she said. By creating a “family” of people who believed in her, she was able to make exceptional achievements. Developing the resources you need is the secret to being a force regardless of where you start.

Learn More: Listen to What One Thing Podcast with Michelle Roark on Overcoming the Unthinkable

Trust Yourself

woman speaking on a stage
Michele Assad

Michele Rigby Assad is a former undercover CIA agent and author of “Breaking Cover.” She served in treacherous areas throughout the Middle East where the threats were real and the missions were perilous. She relied on her team and her instincts to understand when someone was not being honest and learned to manage her interactions with known terrorists in a country where power players were not accustomed to doing business with a woman.

She shared her success secrets for managing emergencies in high-stakes situations. “Prepare extensively and then trust your gut,” she said. By envisioning everything that could go wrong, you put your brain in a state of mind to solve problems. Then put all of that aside and walk confidently into the room focused on the motivations and body language of your counterpart, knowing that even if something unexpected happens, you are prepared.

The Wisdom of Provocateurs

It would be a tragedy to not tap into the collective wisdom of the gathered hospitality experts so, over lunch sponsored by Maritz, trained Provocateurs led conversations to circumvent the biggest roadblocks in the areas of stress and sustainability, employee/attendee engagement best practices and well-being leadership.

Marriott Bonvoy brought the Power of Play in the form of slime from Sloomoo Institute to free the creative mind by keeping the senses engaged.

The exercise was the beginning of a discussion that will continue through Smart Woman VIP Club all year long.

The Gift of Care

To make everyone feel special, a Champagne-fueled Gifting Lounge featured personalized experiences from Citizen Watch America, Essential Bodywear, Joycoast, Phia Lab, Vionic, Halo Branded Solutions, Johnny Cupcakes, Astor Chocolate and Kate’s Single Batch Toffee.

To prove that education and entertainment (“edutainment”) are not mutually exclusive, Roxanne Langer brought her Lady Somm experience to teach the finer points of savoring and enjoying wine.

Learn More: The Gifting Lounge Trend has Arrived

Celebrating Excellence

While the day was dedicated to learning and connecting, the evening shifted to glam mode as we celebrated top meeting professionals in seven categories at The Edison Ballroom with an assist from production master Scott Frankel’s Animatic Media, Atomic Design and Terramar DMC.

What would a Smart Women in Meetings Awards Gala be without entertainment? The Water Coolers had everyone nodding their heads in recognition, tapping their feet and laughing out loud as the trio combined original Broadway singing with corporate comedy.

“When we come together, we can accomplish anything,” said Bright, already looking forward to next year’s Smart Woman Summit event.