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 AL DÍA Women of Merit fireside chat featuring Susan Jacobson, Jacqueline Hopkins, and Uva Coles. Photo credit: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
AL DÍA Women of Merit fireside chat featuring Susan Jacobson, Jacqueline Hopkins, and Uva Coles. Photo credit: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.

“Belonging in Business Today” at the 2022 AL DÍA Women of Merit

At the annual event, three female professionals took part in an enlightening discussion about being women in the workplace.

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The annual AL DÍA Women of Merit event is a celebration of the tremendous contributions women make in leadership roles across the region.

During the 2022 edition of the event, a fireside chat featuring three prominent female leaders took place, where they discussed topics pertaining to female leadership in business and the workplace. 

Moderated by Uva Coles, Chief Learning Officer at Spring Point Partners, she was joined on the stage by Susan Jacobson, Advisory Board Co-Chair for the event; and Jacqueline Hopkins, Senior Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at GoPuff. 

Coles started the fireside chat by having the crowd take a breath and repeat the phrase, “Aquí estoy” or “I am here” as a moment of reflection. 

Jacobson is a groundbreaking leader, as she is the first woman to serve as board chair for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce since 2002. She assumed the role in 2020 right before the pandemic. 

When asked what it meant to take on that role during the pandemic, Jacobson started out by thanking AL DÍA for including a touching tribute to her mother, who recently passed away, in the program admitted that it was a little bit frightening. However, she knew she had a great responsibility and a lot of women looking at her to do a good job. 

Among the things that she had to do in her role was picking an initiative. While she was thinking it over, the pandemic broke out and that became the basis for her initiative. 

One of the programs to come out of that situation was Recharge and Recover PHL. Over 160 leaders in the civic and business sectors came together with solutions to the issues being faced because of the pandemic. 

Taking risks and making mistakes are two things that leaders often have to deal with, and also be unafraid of. 

In response to this, Jacobson noted that any time she would panic after saying the wrong thing, her mother would tell her, “Susan do not flatter yourself to think that anybody’s still thinking about what you said.”

Gender identity is often an integral part of many women’s leadership journeys. 

When asked about that concept, Hopkins responded, “We bring our identities to our jobs. And we aren’t often in control of how others perceive us.”

For most leaders, mentorship is extremely beneficial. Hopkins noted how during her early career, she often searched for mentors, but struggled to find any. 

However, she added that she has gotten a lot of support from other women over the years. As a result, Hopkins has taken it upon herself to be the mentor she really needed when she was starting out. 

At GoPuff, she created a meeting to connect people by putting time on her calendar and inviting individuals. She said that these meetings give Black women a place to talk and get mentorship.

Coles ended the chat by addressing how the Women of Merit honorees have helped other women succeed through things like mentorship and recommendations.

“That's the power of who we are as women. That is the power of true leadership and it doesn't require a title,” she stated. 

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