With the first woman in United States history receiving a major party nomination for the presidency, there has been a lot of attention placed on breaking the glass ceiling. Here in Portland, preparations are underway for the Alliance’s own opportunity to recognize women and companies who are doing the same.
Now in its fifth year, A Place With No Ceiling is an annual Alliance signature event that celebrates one female executive and one company who mentor, support and advance women in the business community. Honorees are nominated by peers and selected by a committee of Alliance members based on a specific set of judging criteria. At the 2016 event, set for Sept. 29, Marilyn Clint, COO and director of events and communications at the Portland Rose Festival, and Bank of America will both be honored for their continual efforts to advance women in business.
I was very fortunate to be honored with the first A Place With No Ceiling award back in 2012. It is one of the most meaningful recognitions I have ever received. I am proud of my work in broadcasting, but when I look back over my career, I’m even more proud of the part I have played in opening new career doors for other women, just as women who went before me opened them for my generation. I was thrilled that the Alliance has an event specifically aimed at honoring women’s leadership in our community, and this year’s recipients – Marilyn Clint and Bank of America – clearly embody the values we want to foster.
Marilyn Clint will receive the individual award for her long-time mentorship and incorporation of innovative programs for young women in the Rose Festival. Programs, such as Living History, inspire women to explore different careers from a young age by highlighting accomplished working women throughout history.
Bank of America was selected to receive the company award because of its continued efforts to advance women in the banking industry. With more than half of its workforce comprised of women, Bank of America offers support and mentorship to female employees through business forums, employee networks and its Neighborhood Builders program.
The initial A Place With No Ceiling gathering drew more than 300 attendees, and today we routinely gather such a crowd at the Oregon Historical Society’s Terrace, a beautiful event space that appropriately has no ceiling. We owe our gratitude to Lori Flexer of Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, who came up with the idea for this event after recognizing a need to celebrate what women in the Portland business community have accomplished, and what companies are doing to support and grow their female employees. Lori just stepped off the Alliance board, and A Place With No Ceiling will be a lasting legacy of her service to the organization.
This annual gathering also wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of my fellow Alliance board member Tracie Murphy of Moda Health, who has chaired the event committee since 2013. Tracie does a great job every year of making sure we include women from all aspects of Portland’s business and civic life.
When we held that first event in 2012, we noted that it was the 100th anniversary of the right to vote for Oregon women. Indeed, the history of Oregon, and the history of business in Oregon, cannot be told without the achievements, contributions and sacrifices of many women through the years. A Place With No Ceiling gives us a chance to look back and celebrate this year’s honorees as well as those who have come before us. And now the rest of the nation is joining us in recognizing that there are ceilings to be shattered.
I encourage you to attend, or consider being a sponsor, as a way to recognize Oregon’s exceptional women leaders. The event takes place on Friday, Sept. 29, at the Oregon Historical Society. It is open to the public and tickets are available for purchase
. Book soon. This will event will be a sell-out.