June 21, 2019 // Written by Scottie Knollin

Ladyboss: An empowered woman, confident in her abilities and instincts, boldly leading with heart and integrity.

For its 2nd Annual Ladyboss Summit, the Ladybosses of Fargo-Moorhead organization hosted 150 women from the Red River Valley for a morning of inspiration and empowerment. Held at The Pines, a venue just south of Fargo, on June 6, 2019, the Ladyboss Summit featured several speakers from the region who shared personal stories of growth while encouraging attendees to look inside themselves for the tools to shape and change the thriving communities in which they are surrounded.

As a tech company, CoreLink is an industry leader in terms of women employees (over 57%) and women in leadership (including its CEO, Joni Wheeler, and over 43% of its leadership team). But, breaking the glass ceiling and rising above societal norms is only part of the future. With an emphasis on growth and development, CoreLink has opted to provide its team members with the tools to live up to their potential, continue to create new opportunities, and lay the groundwork for the next generations. Paying it forward is an incredible piece of CoreLink’s lasting legacy.

To capitalize on its mission to continually support its people, CoreLink motivates its team members to find unique and empowering opportunities like the Ladyboss Summit to explore personal development and build their personal and professional networks. For those who attended this year’s Ladyboss Summit, the experience paid off. They left feeling challenged to embrace bravery, step out of their comfort zones, and lead at every opportunity. In a nutshell, the same traits that have been honed in the offices of CoreLink were being recognized and celebrated in the community; this served as a reminder that each member of CoreLink has what it takes to succeed and make a difference.

Business System Analyst Cheryl Simon was one of the attendees representing CoreLink. For her, the messages of self-care and personal accountability stuck out, especially in terms of growing through mistakes instead of giving up. “It is okay to take care of yourself. Failure does not define you - it is what it is - own it, learn from it, and move on.” Communications Manager, Nicole Turchin, added: “The biggest takeaway I had for the day was around being authentically myself in a world full of competition and comparison. To be who I am, to take risks, to accept failure as a part of being awesome and BRAVE - these are the things that matter!”

Bravery and perseverance were themes Sr. Business Systems Analyst Kasey Cohen were moved by, as well. “You don’t have to be ready to try. It’s not about being ready. It’s about taking the steps and learning as you go.” Manager Patricia Paul summed it up well: “Stay in touch with your special gifts. Don’t give up on what you are passionate about. New passions will build over time…enjoy the journey!”

Prioritizing their passions and approaching the current journey of the company with bravery are elements of leaving a legacy in a positive light for every member of Team CoreLink. During a recent company-wide CliftonStrengths exercise, strengths like Empathy and Adaptability popped up across the board in team members’ Top Fives. Having a proper sense of self-awareness is one of the attributes that have allowed employees to grasp new ideas and learning opportunities, while supporting each other professionally and personally. Making strides to see their own corporate community as a place of encouragement and growth is beginning to shape how current and former members of Team CoreLink approach the communities around them.

For the 57% of CoreLink’s workforce, bravely approaching each day with vigor and tenacity is allowing them to be innovative women leaders who will continue to shift the corporate structure of the tech industry and other industries as they transition outside of CoreLink’s walls. As CEO Joni Wheeler has said before, “The glass ceiling has been broken. It’s up to the women leaders now to create opportunities for the next set of leaders.” CoreLink team members are equipped with the tools to pay it forward, whatever that means.