Highlights from the 2016 Women's Leadership Summit

Direct from Dallas, May 11-13. A look at the women entrepreneurs, thought leaders, C-Suite Execs, and experts from finance who are leading the way and changing the conversation.

May 12th: 8:11 PM

Alfre Woodard on the Power to Choose

Alfre Woodard and Morgan Stanley's Sandra Richards, held an audience of 400 rapt as Ms. Woodard talked at length about her career as an actress. She also recalled growing up as a farmer's daughter who once taught her, "No man is below you," when she laughed at a "hobo” as a young girl. "And no man is above you," he quickly added.

There are attitudes and acts that help careers, she said. Ms. Woodard has a famous gathering of women actors around Oscar time to foster a celebration, not a competition, among the women. And in terms of the roles she accepts and does not? The script is a big convincer. But her self-view is also important. Whether she is engaged in a movie or not, she is an actor. Directors do not determine that by hiring her. She does. And that gives her the power and strength to choose the right roles.

"Make decisions on who you are and who you want to be," she told Sandra and the crowd. "Love and a good heart will get you through anything."

May 12th: 4:41 PM

Kara Underwood Issues a Challenge

This year's challenge to the Women's Leadership Summit? Kara Underwood puts it in one word: Mentor. Reach out and work to make other women a success in wealth management.

"Take the light and momentum of this room and pass it to others" said Kara "What we do here is lift as we climb. Take on a 'mentee' as this year's challenge, get involved in a formal way and mentor someone. Refer individuals back and forth to each other. Get involved in a formal way, engage more women. There is more wealth in the hands of women that ever before and we need to have a firm that matches the clients we serve. The future of wealth management lies in our hands."

May 12th: 4:22 PM

Shelley O'Connor on the Future of Wealth Management

“The next ten years are going to be transformational. And women at Morgan Stanley need to lead the charge," said Shelley O'Connor, at the close of the Women’s Leadership Summit in Dallas.

“Let’s do it together. Let’s change the face of wealth management,” she told more than 400 Financial Advisors, executives and managers. The event brought together some of the company’s top financial advisors.

May 12th: 8:40 AM

Dr. Nancy Currie-Gregg on Reaching for Stars

Dr. Nancy Currie-Gregg, a former Astronaut, and now a NASA Engineer, told Robin Hogan, a Complex Manager for Morgan Stanley, that “from the time I could walk, I knew I wanted to fly.” That “want” did not translate to automatic countdown on a mission to Mars, however.

One lesson for women is to make sure you “push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Dr. Nancy Currie-Gregg said. How do you measure your career? One main metric: "As long as you love what you're doing, you have a fulfilling career. Pursue your dreams. love what you're doing and a passion for what you do.”

May 12th: 8:12 AM

Erin Clift on Battling Fear and Finding Success

Erin Clift, Chief Marketing Officer of Kik Interactive, Inc.—and driving force behind Spotify—told the Women’s Leadership Summit that a basic lesson she learned in her career was “It isn’t about me, it’s how I can help other people find their success.” It’s not just what you accomplish in your job but for others. “Jobs are great,” she said, “but people drive a culture.”

And to execute on her mission to help others, she had to overcome barriers—particularly fears she felt. “I learned not to be afraid to make a change,” she said. “Fear has no place in your success equation.”

May 11th: 5:27 PM

Morgan Stanley Believes Diversity Equals Success

At the Women’s Leadership Summit, Rick Skae, Managing Director, Eastern Division Director, Morgan Stanley, says that as a firm, we have an overwhelming stake in diversity for success. People need to hear us say, “You’ve got this.”

Kara Underwood, Managing Director, Head of Wealth Management Diversity, believes Morgan Stanley will attract more women employees and clients by tapping into the power and potential of the women gathered in Dallas at the Women’s Leadership Summit.

Morgan Stanley's longstanding emphasis on creating a diverse workforce has brought many rewards. The results can be seen today in the successes coming from our constant focus on recruiting, developing and advancing women leaders based on their skills and talents.

May 11th: 5:07 PM

Sarah Jones Talks with Carla Harris About Improvising Opportunities

Improv actress and artist Sarah Jones tells Carla Harris that improvisation is vital to all success in business and art but it comes only from a solid core of competence and sense of self-worth.

"My self-worth drives my net worth," she said. How to develop trust? Find some great friends. In Sarah's case, Meryl Streep was her safe space.

May 11th: 4:38 PM

Jessica Mendoza Stays Real

Jessica Mendoza tells Carla Harris that being an ESPN sports announcer is everything it’s cracked up to be—and it helps that her civil engineer husband stepped up to the plate and ran the household.

As for career choices after Olympic Gold? "I wasn't going to say yes to the smaller opportunities," she said. A great example, said Carla, of asking for what you really want. Right now, in a television world that can seem unreal, what does Jessica do? "I surround myself with people that are real."

May 11th: 4:05 PM

Shelley O'Connor Opens this Year's Summit

Shelley O’Connor, Co-Head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, began the Women’s Leadership Summit in Dallas with a story about her own mother: a “straight A” student at the University of Oklahoma who was a parent, a housewife and then a successful entrepreneur.

The chapters in the life of “Suzie” mirror the journeys of your clients, Shelley said. “Raising a family, starting a business, surviving the loss of a spouse, entering retirement, and leaving something for children and grandchildren.”

The takeaway for the audience of Morgan Stanley’s top women Financial Advisors? “With your expertise and wisdom you can play an important role throughout all the chapters of your clients’ lives and help them take care of their families, look out for their future and simplify their lives.”