5 "pearls" from Executive Women's Day at the Honda Classic


By: Jan Tuckwood, Presentation Editor

How do you get 250 executive women to care about a golf tournament?

Show them what golf can do for their careers.

That’s what Executive Women’s Day did on Tuesday at PGA National, home of this week’s Honda Classic. The day-long event was a soft-sell – not so much about the game of golf directly, but a lot about how friendly connections become powerful business alliances.

The lunch speech by Morgan Stanley vice chairman Carla Harris was practically a revival, with Harris – who happens to be the chairman of the National Women’s Business Council and a gospel singer – raising the women in the crowd to their feet.

She shared some of the “pearls” from her 2009 book “Expect to Win” including…

Perception is the Copilot to Reality: How you perceive yourself may not be how others perceive you. She suggested that business women pick three adjectives they would use to describe themselves – and then find out if people at their workplace would use the same adjectives. “Teach people how to perceive you,” she says in her book. Here are some other “pearls” we picked up at Executive Women’s Day:

Resilience is more important than courage: This advice came from Rose Fass of FassForward, a company that “transforms businesses.” She’s a former Xerox exec.

The values shown in golf translate to business: So says Pam Swensen, CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, based in Palm Beach Gardens. What values are those? Trust, integrity, discipline, the ability to follow rules. The EWGA started with 28 women in 1991 and now has 14,000 members. And these members spend $66 million per year on golf!

A drug maker known for incontinence medication can throw a nice party: Astellas, a pharmaceutical company, sponsors the PGA Tour Woman Experience lounge/tent at the Honda Classic. It’s a place to relax and charge your phone, and also do interactive experiments related to your health. You can even pretend to be a broadcaster. It’s geared to women but open to anyone attending the Honda Classic this week.

The networking that really matters is not scheduled: Another piece of advice from speaker Rose Fass. Connections that really work are not planned events. “Leadership happens in the conversation, and conversations happen in the moment. Management can happen in a spreadsheet, but not leadership.” Good advice – on the golf course or off.

Pam Buford of Astellas

Pam Buford of Astellas

Carla Harris book

Carla Harris book

Rose Fass of FassForward

Rose Fass of FassForward

Becky Macaluso (left) and Pam Swensen

Becky Macaluso (left) and Pam Swensen