WINi 2021

On Feburary 24, WALTER held its fourth annual WINi. A sister event to our WINnovation summit, which celebrates local women in innovation, this virtual event gathered female leaders for an afternoon of introspection and inspiration.

To kick off the event, Molly DeCola, vice president and Triangle community relations manager for Bank of America, interviewed Fatima Bell, a young woman from Bank of America’s Student Leaders program. Afterwards, Melissa Carrier, director of social innovation and professor of practice at Innovate Carolina at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Rida Bayraktar, the founder of Pink STREAM and a current undergraduate student at UNC, led WINi attendees through exercises designed to help them uncover the aspects of their careers that bring them the most fulfillment.

Panelists at the summit included Carly Prentis Jones, a theatre artist, singer, arts advocate, and activist; Cari Roccaro, a two-time NWSL Champion soccer player for North Carolina Courage; Victoria Scott-Miller, the owner of Liberation Station, a globally recognized independent pop-up bookstore; Jennifer Dasal, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the NCMA and voice behind the podcast ArtCurious; and Jess Ekstrom, the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, a fashion retailer that benefits children with cancer. They shared stories of successes and failures, and offered advice for women starting out in their careers.

After the talks, the panelists and guests engaged in a lively Q&A with guests. WALTER would like to thank its partner and presenting sponsor Bank of America, supporting sponsors St. David’s School and Saint Mary’s School, as well as Wegmans and our production team, Attended Events, for their support.

Wise words from the WINi 2021 panelists…

“I had this plan and I had to scrap it, because I found a life that was calling out to me. It was scary to follow a new dream — and while I don’t tell people to follow their hearts and run away to the circus, I do advise you to stay open and see what finds you. You always have the right to say no to something that comes your way.”
Jennifer Dasal, curator of modern and contemporary art at NCMA

“The idea that quitting is weakness is silly — I think that quitting reminds us that we have a choice. Our energy and creativity dies in limbo, it dies in the grey area. Move forward and instead of holding an outcome with a clenched fist, try holding it with an open palm. Success can’t be measured, it must be felt.”
Jess Ekstrom, founder and CEO of Headbands for Hope

“Authenticity is activism: on stage, my differences are celebrated.
It’s OK for us to have multiple skill sets — in fact, we should celebrate them! You can have it all, just not always all at once. Even the best-laid plans sometimes take a turn… just remember that nothing is permanent.”
Carly Prentis Jones, performer and senior program director for artists & organizations at North Carolina Arts Council

“Change and life transitions are inevitable. If I fail, if I suck, if I’m
not having that much fun — it doesn’t matter, because I learned something, and I grew. The right doors will open for you when you follow your heart. Don’t bubble-wrap your life, and take care of your mental health.”
Cari Roccaro, midfielder for North Carolina Courage

“We all are given a moral compass, we all are given intuition in some way, and you have to allow yourself to lead with that in order to make the best decisions possible. It took me a while to realize that I was not one-dimensional, that I am a universe within myself, and I have to operate as one. Lean all the way into uncertainty.”
Victoria Scott-Miller, owner of Liberation Station bookstore

To view the full program, click here.