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Leadership Summit celebrates female leaders

March 23, 2012

Rosie the Riveter: We Can Do It!The Altgeld Auditorium at NIU showcased an impressive cast of influential women Thursday, March 22, for the 2012 Leadership Summit.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the event was sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta, in partnership with Fifth Third Bank, and focused on female executives and entrepreneurs who have established themselves as strong-willed and successful leaders.

Keynote speaker Teresa Tanner, chief human resources officer of Fifth Third Bancorp, kick-started the event by sharing a story about her first job at McDonald’s.

“I loved my job,” Tanner said. “I loved it so much that after I did fries and swept the lobby, I couldn’t wait to learn drive-through.”

Tanner was dedicated to becoming the youngest McDonald’s manager in her region, although her high school guidance counselor advised her to set her goals higher.

Tanner disregarded the advice and went on to hold high-level leadership roles within the company.

“If you love it, then you’ll do your job well,” Tanner said.

Panelists for the event included Denise Schoenbachler, dean of the NIU College of Business; Stacey Barsema, president of the Barsema Foundation; La Vonne Neal, dean of the NIU College of Education; Aquanette Simpson, director of employee services and human resource development at NIU; and Cherilyn Murer, president and CEO of Murer Consultants and chair of the NIU Board of Trustees.

“We were able to get five of the most prominent women here at NIU,” said Matt Reiland, regional manager for Fifth Third Bank in the far west suburbs. “We were just very excited to have this partnership with Teresa Tanner and this group of women.”

by Andrew Hrubec