Q&A With SIM Women Founder Kristen Lamoreaux

SIM Women’s fearless leader discusses what’s new at this year’s SIM Women Leadership Summit and shares tidbits from behind the scenes.

This is the fourth SIM Women Leadership Summit. How has the event evolved over the last few years?

The SIM Women Leadership Summit has continued to mature in its programming – we have clearly defined tracks – and in its overriding themes of advancement and inclusion.

SIM Women’s mission is to leverage the safety of a community while encouraging our members to achieve their individual potential and goals; therefore, regardless of whether you are a CIO seeking a board role or a Director desiring world domination, we have coaches and thought leaders to guide your personal development.

Also, our Summit partners focus on STEM outreach and diversity initiatives and their communities enrich our own.

What is different and new about the event this year?

When surveying our Summit Council about programming ideas, we realized “Digital Transformation” was too broad a topic to cover in one session given people can’t even agree on how to define it!  We’ve created a general session with a panel of experts and a C-level deep dive session where attendees can submit their Digital Strategies to our experts in advance of the conference and receive a blind white paper on trends and analysis of those in the room. Actionable advice and cutting edge insights are critical to the success of any conference.

Also, one of our keynotes last year was about storytelling and it received incredibly high survey scores. We didn’t want to repeat a speaker, so we researched thought leaders in the storytelling space. Hands down, The Moth was at the top of the list. The Moth is a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. We have asked them to facilitate an afternoon workshop (3 hours!) to empower our members with skills to secure funding for projects, to justify a headcount increase, to define a new company culture post acquisition; storytelling is at the center of it all!

Lastly, we’ve added an evening event – a SIM Women StorySLAM – where members of the workshop and select SIM Women speakers will share their 5 minute stories on “Strength.” I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a full day of leadership!

CIO’s have a choice of so many different events. Why should this be one of their must-attend conferences this year?  

There are countless events regarding tech and how to implement them. Whatever your organization needs, there is undoubtedly a conference to support it, but the pace of change is so fast, no one person can stay on top of it. The SIM Women Leadership Summit doesn’t focus solely on tech; we focus on leadership. Gathering people together allows you to network and benchmark what’s working or find out where things went wrong. It’s not enough to keep pace anymore; you need to leapfrog.

You will not be successful if you neglect your people, but how can you re-skill them quickly? How do you repeatedly engage your people? Where will you get the budget for all of this? These are just some of the solutions our thought leaders will provide.

Food for thought: if you aren’t deliberate in managing your own career, change will happen to you instead of you being the change agent.

You will not be successful if you neglect your people, but how can you re-skill them quickly? How do you repeatedly engage your people? Where will you get the budget for all of this? These are just some of the solutions our thought leaders will provide.- Kristen Lamoreaux

The Summit has a record of attracting high-level women leaders who have reached great heights in their career. How do you keep attracting such an inspiring group?

One of the exciting aspects of the SIM Women Leadership Summit is that you never know who you’re standing next to unless you network!  The women leaders who return to the Summit year over year are inspired by our mission and they’ve seen the results of the connections they’ve made at the conference impacting their career and their organizations.

To enrich our networking pool this year we will have women whose badges will read “First” because they were the “first” at something groundbreaking like “first to fly a joint space shuttle mission with Japan” or “first woman of color” in their company leadership team. It is empowering to connect with women who have overcome obstacles and advanced their careers. The three tracks to our conference – Exemplify, Empower, Educate – resonate with our attendees because they are those who exemplify leadership, empower others, and educate themselves and their teams.

I also want to mention, we have a growing contingent of gentlemen CIOs who attend each year with their teams, demonstrating that the content is worth their time as well as that of their teams!