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Sun Sentinel; Fort Lauderdale; Apr 16, 1994; LESLIE A. WILLIAMS Business Writer;

[Katie Couric] spoke of a mixed bag of results for women in the media. Her title on Today remains co-anchor to Gumbel's anchor, and she still makes less than Gumbel in spite of co-hosting two shows to his one, she said.

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(Copyright 1994)

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It was impossible to take in every-thing that the second annual South Florida Women's Business Conference had to offer, but more than 1,400 women who attended Friday's all-day event sure tried.

Throughout the day, women with pagers and cellular phones, dressed up in business suits or down in stylish leggings, dashed in and out of expert-led workshops with topics ranging from climbing the corporate ladder to enhancing your intimate relationships.

Julie Fisher Berry, who co-chaired the conference, said one of the elements that has made the conference a success is the camaraderie that participants feel among each other.

"There's a bonding it has to do with being women, but it has more to do with the fact that all women here are looking for achievement. There's a common goal that we want to better ourselves. We're looking to learn and be excited about something," she said.

The sold-out conference was a project of the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale in cooperation with 25 local women's groups and a handful of corporate sponsors.

There were 31 panel discussions as well as the luncheon during which Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., spoke. The closing address was by Today show co-anchor Katie Couric.

King spoke on the empowerment of women. When asked to gauge the last 30 years, she said significant strides have been made in the numbers of women and minorities elected to power, but the numbers of poor people and homeless is greater than ever before.

"Let us rededicate our hearts and souls to a new kind of politics and a new kind of business based not on power and greed, but based on love, nonviolence and decency. With this spirit, together, we shall overcome," King said.

She cited women's unshakable strength throughout the Civil Rights Movement in during the 1960s. King said women shouldn't let down their guard - or fortitude.

"Women stood up for freedom and were not about to be turned around," she said. "Nobody knows better than I do that there was some male chauvinism in the movement. Even now I have to occasionally straighten some of my male colleagues."

She encouraged women to take full advantage of the strength in their numbers - they make up 53 percent of the U.S. population - by voting, by protesting to music or movies that denegrate women, and by developing their leadership skills in their companies and communities.

Couric spoke of a mixed bag of results for women in the media. Her title on Today remains co-anchor to Gumbel's anchor, and she still makes less than Gumbel in spite of co-hosting two shows to his one, she said.

While she and Gumbel share most of the heavy-hitting news interviews, producers still seem to give her all the day-care stories. It's an attitude in need of change, she said.

"Women and children and families should be considered societal issues, not women's stories," she said. "Wouldn't it be great to see a five-part series on child care reported by Tom Brokaw rather than a woman, for a change?"

But women have also scored impressive strides in the television business, Couric said, noting that 43 of 72 writers, producers and editors on the Today show are women.

Many participants came to the conference looking for expert guidance to redirect or strengthen their careers.

"I hope to come back with, if not fresh ideas, a rejuvenation," said Charlotte Luna, vice president of operations for CruiseOne, a Deerfield Beach company that sells cruise vacations. "There's really no one in the office to pump me up. I'm constantly required to be the motivator."


Some quotable comments from speakers at the Women's Business Conference:

-- "The higher you climb up the corporate ladder, the more they see of your rear end ... Keep learning, stay even-tempered, be dedicated, learn from mistakes, be diplomatic and believe in your company's corporate culture ... And remember, it takes 25 years to get to the board room."

- Marjorie Riddle, senior vice president and director of account services at First Marketing Co., from the presentation "Perspective from the Board Room: How to Make It There and Stay."

-- "Success is a matter of perspective. Success doesn't come without sacrifice and hard work. As women we face different challenges in the workplace than we did 20 years ago. ... You have to be willing to take risks to achieve results. Being a good leader means being a good follower, too. Seek out opportunities, speak up if you're interested in something. Set your priorities.

- Alex Sink, president of NationsBank of Florida, who talked about "Success Strategies for Women in Corporate America."

-- "If you want someone's attention, pull out something you are an authority on and tell a story. That is so critical. When you give evidence and illustrations, people are going to come away from you enriched."

- Christine Kurtz-White, director of the Florida International University's Women Business Development Center, on making small talk during presentation of "The Business of Minding Your Manners - Social and Business Etiquette."

-- "Successful people do not procrastinate when it relates to their area of achievement, because procrastination prevents success. As women, we need to give ourselves lots of positive self-talk. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy to say, I'm doing great I'm doing terrific."

- Pamela Houze, time-management consultant who led "Techniques for Effective Time Management."

-- You can make as many plans as you want, but if you don't implement them, they won't do you any good. Get a clear fix on what you want."

- Diane M. Walsh, financial planner, who led "Stop Worrying about Money - Increase Your Net Worth."

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