Laura Gamble
    President of Greater Maryland,
    Northeast Territory Executive
    PNC Bank


    Salisa L. Berrien
    Founder and CEO of
    COI Energy

    Karen  Hanlon
    COO Highmark Health

    Caroline O'Connor
    President of Business Operations
    Florida Marlins

    Lisa Purcell
    Country Music Hall of Fame
    and Museum's Executive Vice President,
    External Affairs

Webcast Transcript:

Laura Gamble: Hello and thank you for joining us today for what I think is going to be a really inspirational conversation with four incredible women who are leading the way in their industries. I'm Laura Gamble, PNC's Regional President for Greater Maryland. I'm also a proud PNC certified women's business advocate, one of 4800 men and women across PNC who are specially trained and committed to women's financial success.

Today's webcast is part of PNC 13th consecutive Women in Business Week. Curating conversations like this one to provide new insights, information, and inspiration for women is one of the many ways we're working to accelerate women's financial equality at PNC. Before we dive in to hear from our terrific panelists, I'd like to provide some context for why Women Leading the Way is an important topic and why we've invited these particular panelists to engage in the conversation.

Two years ago, PNC launched Project 257, Accelerating Women's Financial Equality, an initiative to bring awareness to and help close a 257 year economic gender gap. The name Project 257 was inspired by the World Economic Forum's 2020 Global Gender Gap report, which said that it would take women another two and a half centuries to catch up to men economically, if the world doesn't do more to accelerate financial equality.

If the idea of a 257 year economic gender gap makes you angry, we can relate. PNC wants to be a leader in closing the gap and bringing light to some of the opportunities and challenges for women is one way we're helping to address it.

Today we've assembled a panel of women who are all leaders in industries that are still dominated by men. That's one of the big drivers of the 257 year economic gender gap, women's under-representation in the workforce. Our panelists have not only climbed their own ladder, often in inhospitable environments, they're also working to create space for even more women in their fields.

So ladies, welcome. So that we can spend our time today at the heart of the issue, I won't take time to read your extensive resumes which are posted for our viewers, but I would like each of you to spend three or four minutes sharing a bit of your background as I introduce you.

As the Founder and CEO of COI Energy, So Lisa L. Berrien, is an innovator in the electric power and smart grid space. She's a mechanical engineer by profession. She's also a philanthropist, having established an endowment for minority engineering students at her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, where she also serves as a trustee. COI Energy eliminates energy waste in buildings, monetizes the energy savings, and then re-purposes that waste for good. So, Lisa, will you tell us what that means and what inspired you to tackle such a big issue in such a male dominated business?

Lisa L. Berrien: Thank you, Lauren. And so let me try to unpack that question you have, because it's pretty complex when I really go back and think about how I even got in the energy industry, it really comes back from my lived experience as a child growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and my parents experiencing energy poverty.

So just from that experience alone, it really got me interested in electric field because I spent many a days and nights without power living in Allentown. And so for me, I went on to go to University of Pittsburgh and got the mechanical engineering degree and started working back at the utility that served my family. And my whole focus was on energy efficiency.

And so, when I started COI Energy, I was like, let me figure out how I can kind of bring these two pieces together. Whereas helping large industrial and commercial customers improve their efficiency and their operations, thereby eliminating energy waste and at the same time help a third of our population in the United States that are experiencing energy poverty, giving them equitable access to clean energy.

And so, what we developed and deployed was this digital energy platform that really focuses on helping businesses manage their energy in a way that they prevent waste from happening. And then that excess capacity that they end up having because they're operating more efficiently, they now pay forward a portion of those savings to marginalized communities or underrepresented communities to give them that access. And so a lot of people say like, why was that important? So for me, everything I've done since I left Pitt was really focused on how I can make the space I occupy better than I found it. And I know there's a lot we can do when we think about the climate crisis that we're experiencing.

Businesses waste a third of the energy they consume, and they also contribute over 40% to greenhouse gas emissions. I don't think any business wants to do that. It's all about having the insight and understanding how you're wasting in order to be able to eliminate that. And that's what we do at COI Energy.

Laura Gamble: Wow. So, knowledge before you can make change, right?

Lisa L. Berrien: That's right.

Laura Gamble: Karen Hanlon, turning to you. You're the EVP and Chief Operations Officer of a $21 billion health care organization. And previously you were the CFO at a time when your organization was struggling financially. And that organization by the way is Highmark Health Care. You turned it around. What was your path to the C-suite? Did you seek out health care or did health care find you?

Karen Hanlon: Thanks, Lauren. Thanks for having me today. This is an incredibly important topic for us to be talking about, so I appreciate the opportunity to be joining you all. I was an accounting major in college. I went into public accounting and worked for one of the large national public accounting firms. And about five years into that, I decided that - I knew that that was not going to be the place that I wanted to be forever. And I landed at Highmark really because of the people. It was people that I knew. It was the culture that I knew about the company and the mission of the company that really drew me here and then progressed through the finance ranks. I've been here about 26 years. I progressed through the finance ranks to become the CFO in 2014 and then moved into the COO role in 2018.

And it's continued to be the people and the culture that have actually kept me here that whole time. We have the privilege of touching on something that for each one of us as individuals is really personal to us, probably the most meaningful thing in our lives, the health of ourselves and of those that we love, our friends, our neighbors. And that's what we work on every day here.

So, it gives me something that is really purposeful. And the culture in which I work is one that I very much enjoy. I enjoy the people that I work with a ton, and it's just been a great place for me to have grown up and grown through my career and it led me into ultimately the C-suite just because I continue to have the opportunities to advance.

And so very much a reason that I joined the panel here today because I think there's a lot that we can each draw on from our personal experiences that got us to where we are that may be helpful to others as they're contemplating their own journey.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. We're glad to have you on today. Caroline O'Connor. While there are few businesses more dominated by men than Major League Baseball, your organization, the Miami Marlins, now has an executive team dominated by women. Not only your General Manager, Kim Ng, but you as President of baseball operations - business operations, excuse me. You started out in the financial industry. How did you find your way to baseball and how does it feel to be only the second woman in the MLB to be President of Business Operations?

Caroline O'Connor: Hi, Laura. Thanks for having me. As part of this esteemed panel. It's great to be here. It feels great to be the President of Business Operations for the Miami Marlins, and it feels great to look down the hall and see my partner, Kim NG, who is the first female General Manager in all of professional sports.

We have a wonderful ownership group here. They really look at the qualities and what's in the package versus the package when they're making their hiring decisions and their promotion decisions. And so we're really proud to work for them and for sure and our principal owners are incredibly supportive.

Me and my career journey, you mentioned that I started in financial services and I had a number of years on Wall Street before making the move south here to work for the Marlins. And I think in my career I've always focused on really working hard, learning as much as I possibly could. And I've been really fortunate to always be recognized for that and had a number of promotions through my career which eventually led me to this one and a really interesting business.

You'd be surprised not that different than other companies, but a lot of upside and a lot of fun when you walk out your door and go watch baseball games. So really proud to be here and proud to be part of the Miami Marlins.

Laura Gamble: Well, thanks also for being here on the panel. Lisa, you're the Executive in charge of External Affairs for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. You have a strong background in the non-profit world, which is generally more accessible to women. But for museums with budgets over $15 million a year, the C-suite still tends to be male. Is this the case with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum?

Karen Hanlon: Thanks so much for the great question, Laura, and thanks for having me join All Things Project 257 are near and dear to me for the reason you just said. I've worked in a variety of non-profit roles, usually in the arts and culture space, some profit music business spaces as well for profit, and have really enjoyed the experiences.

But goodness, looking at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it is one of the largest museums in the United States and we have an operating budget of more than 40 million. We have a variety of complicated financials compared to more modest non-profits or typical non-profits, which tend to be smaller, but capital reserves and endowments and all kinds of things. And folks that invest in us are inspired by our mission, but they're also great business people, especially at leadership levels.

And when you're looking at projects like capital campaigns and the like, it's so similar to venture capital. So as a person that began their career working in education and curatorial types of roles, which in the museum space are heavily dominated by women, the desire to understand where the business was were made to have more access to the boardroom, to really figure out where the corner of arts and commerce was and to do - to add some business learning to my skills and work on relationships really helped. And I'm really grateful that I have an EVP role at our institution. Our CEO is a gentleman named Kyle Young, who's been with the institution for more than four decades. And last year my colleague Nina Burghard and I were elevated to EVP roles.

And collectively we manage finance operations, contributed revenue, marketing, education, and every committee of our board of officers of trustees. So, it is really exciting and empowering. And as many of the other ladies shared, it is about the quality of work. And for us it's we're just so grateful to be recognized and so glad to have the opportunities to lean in with our content expertise, but also the desire to really learn how to run a business and to build relationships and learn from these wonderful board members.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. It's a fantastic space. I've had the privilege of being there before, so it's really wonderful. So, our topic today is Women Leading the Way. Clearly, you're leading the way for women in industries where women are still relatively underrepresented. I'm curious about another commonality.

Your businesses were all uniquely impacted by the pandemic. I'd love for you to share with our audience how you led through the pandemic and its impact on your organization and you personally, and what were the lessons that you learned from the pandemic that to you have improved how you lead and how you do business today? I'm going to start with Karen, because obviously health care was one of the biggest businesses impacted.

So, yeah. Arguably, no industry was impacted more by the pandemic than health care. So, Karen, can you share some of the challenges impacting insurers like Highmark and how you address them and what were the personal impacts.

Karen Hanlon: Sure. Yeah. Great question. It's been an interesting few years, to say the least. So, at Highmark, we are a fairly diversified company. We have a large insurance plan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan that covers Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New York. We also own a provider system here in Western Pennsylvania and have an interest as well in a system in Central Pennsylvania.

So we have both payer and provider as well as a handful of other businesses. And so, when the pandemic hit for us, we of course just like everybody else went into full activation mode in terms of getting all of our employees that needed to shift to work from home, working from home. That was a yeoman's effort in and of itself.

And then of course in the clinical spaces, many of those folks needed to be in the clinical spaces for obvious reasons given what was going on. And so much of our attention very quickly shifted to what needed to happen in the delivery system. And we covered things like supply chain challenges early on which if you search back deep in your memory bank you'll remember discussions on having enough gloves and gowns and all those sorts of things. Masks, yes.

So, we were pulling our resources from all across the enterprise and frankly from the community more broadly. We had a number of customers that stepped up and were very active with us at the table in helping to solve some of those supply chain challenges particularly on something like N95 masks and trying to protect our health care workers.

So, we navigated those early phases and then of course, we kicked into the vaccination stage when the vaccine finally became available and again tapped into some really great community partners across the regions that we serve here in Western Pennsylvania.

Karen Hanlon: We had PNC Park in the Pittsburgh Pirates Dick's Sporting Goods, Mind safety appliance was a significant partner for us here in western Pennsylvania. But our caregivers, of course, were leading the way at Allegheny Health Network here in western Pennsylvania and were supplemented by thousands of volunteers both from within our enterprise, but also from the community at large.

And so, over the last two years, we've administered over a half a million doses of the vaccine to get people vaccinated. And today we continue to navigate the COVID variants to deal with occasional surges that we all read about in the public. We have a significant focus on long COVID and the impacts of long COVID.

And now as an employer, like most other employers, we're also navigating the return back into the work environment for our employees that all shifted fully to work from home. And so, when I think about the lessons learned, probably the two that stick out most prominently for me are first, just this rapid progression of delivering care from home and shifting to virtual care.

And I think it's something we did out of necessity initially, and now we're doing it because it just makes care more accessible for people. We saw that in a very significant way in the mental health space, the use of mental health services skyrocketed through COVID. In part, that was because the need was there. People were feeling the stressors associated with what they were going through. But it was also because service was much more accessible to them than what it was before.

There was, for some people, just a stigma of walking into a doctor's office for mental health services that they could avoid and feel more comfortable with if they were accessing from home on their computer. And so that's one huge lesson that I think we've learned in the health care system broadly that we continue to use and make sure that we're using to our benefit to promote access to services.

The second thing I would say is just this whole idea of work from home, and I know every employer is now trying to find that balance. For us here at Highmark Health, we had some work from home pre-COVID, but nothing like what we experienced through COVID and what we likely will land on is kind of our final model.

And I think we found a way to make that work. We continue to navigate what's the right balance between in the worksite and working from home. I think COVID allowed all of us to find a sense of balance that most others - most did not have pre-COVID. And we want to tap into that, use the benefits associated with that, but also at the same time be mindful of the fact that culture, collaboration, trust is all built through deep work that we do together.

And oftentimes that work is done most productively in person. And so - but I think our second big learning was just that whole work from home and the transition to it, now the transition back and finding that new balance and new norm for all of us.

Laura Gamble: How about personally, was there anything that from a personal perspective you have brought forward with you out of the pandemic?

Karen Hanlon: Yeah, I think it's probably goes back to that last statement, just that balance and finding more flexibility for us because we're in the health care space, our executive team never really left. We were still coming in every day. We're running 14 hospitals here in Western Pennsylvania. And so, we had to be present and on site and doing the right things.

But I definitely found a different way of balancing work and personal life through COVID, through the pandemic. It's something that when we think about this topic, Women in Business, especially for women that are entering into stages with their family where their children have great needs, the finding of that balance in how you navigate work and home is just a critical item.

It's - and for everybody the answer is different. It depends on your personal situation. It depends on the care arrangements that you have for your children. It depends on your partner and the role that they're playing as you're raising your family, the career they have. And so how each of us navigates that, I think we have to find our own way.

And that was for me through COVID something that I found a better way of balancing flexibility in the work environment. I do a lot more calls from home than I ever did pre-COVID, and yet I'm still in the office most days of the week you'll find me coming into the office. But that was definitely a learning for me personally.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. I'm glad you brought up women as caregivers because the amount of uncompensated caregiving that women do is one of the factors that leads to that economic gender gap. So, I think it's a big issue.

Karen Hanlon: Yeah, no doubt. And I do think - I think, Laura, it's important use the term caregiver, which I love because it's not always just kids. It's your parents, it can be a sibling, it could be a neighbor. It could be anybody that you're playing an active role in helping them to navigate the needs that they have. And so, I do think for us as employers, it's something that we have to be really thoughtful about. Because people's needs through their own personal journey change over time and we have to be able to accommodate that.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. Some great lessons learned. So, turning to Lisa. Lisa, how were your business and stakeholders impacted in an environment when virtually no one or very few people were going in to work in offices buildings.

Lisa L. Berrien: It was a very interesting time. I remember the first week where everything just kind of came to a stop and I signed this large agreement we were supposed to launch and they were like, we have to put everything permanently on hold because we don't know what's going on.

And during that time with my company being a digital energy management company prior to the pandemic, a lot of folks couldn't even wrap their head around what that meant to be digital. And so, during the following few weeks, we started getting calls from utilities and from businesses, and they were like, could you help us with our energy but not make contact with anyone?

Like, yes, that's exactly what we do. So, we were able to help the utility implement some energy measures that they needed to do with their health care customers, which was - which is one of our bigger customer population is health care and commercial office space. And so, what we found during that time, health care had a spike in energy usage and then commercial office space they had a mass exodus of their people coming out of their buildings, but they didn't see the drop in their energy usage in alignment with the mass exodus.

And so, what that showed many folks including leaders is that not having a clear line of sight into how they're using their energy and how they're managing it is key and critical. And so that's where a lot of that energy waste that I talked about earlier happens because they don't have that visibility.

So, during that time, a lot of great things happened. So, there was silver lining in it all. We had Karen had mentioned about PPE and getting the mask and gloves out there. We had many of our businesses that donate a portion of their savings to these marginalized communities. They started giving more and they were like, okay, we need to help with getting masks and gloves and things out into these senior care living communities, also into the lower income housing.

They also contributed to paying electric bills because some folks didn't have jobs and they couldn't afford their electric bills during that time. So, we were able to help a few hundred people through our COI Cares Program and KW for Good, which is Kilowatt for Good, that comes from the donations from the businesses that are on our platform.

So, during that time, businesses were able to really stand up on their ESG piece of their business and really give back. But in addition to that, we were able to actually help more health care customers come on board and implement some of these energy efficiency measures to help reduce their costs during that time.

So, it originally didn't seem like it was going to be a good outcome because we didn't know what was going on but during that time, you started seeing businesses, health care communities really adopting digital solutions and understanding how that really can drive your business forward. And so, it turned out to be a win win win, not only for the business but for the community and also for the environment.

Laura Gamble: So, was there anything from a personal perspective that you brought with you out of the pandemic?

Lisa L. Berrien: I did, really thinking about how we're all interconnected. So, during the pandemic, we got to see what a mask did for us. It really made us recognize and realize how we all are interconnected and how if one is down, we all have to lift each other up in order to move things forward. And it really translated for me even in my business.

You often hear people say, those people need to pull themselves up from what their - their own bootstraps. And then you didn't never thought about the fact that some people just don't even have boots. And so, the pandemic showed us it's like, let's get mask out to people. Let's help people get access to clean energy. Let's make sure that as we're driving forward and really trying to change how we look at our environment and how we look at climate change. That we look at it from a holistic perspective on how we can make sure that everyone is a part of the transition and coming into this realm of being able to breathe easier and having a better future not just for themselves but for their children's children. So that really came out. And I think the metaphor with the mask really amplified that message for me.

Laura Gamble: Thank you for sharing that. That's really - that's just a wonderful story. Lisa, turning to you. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a robust lineup of virtual programming, including awards and music program for Pre-K kids. And one of our other big programs at PNC is Grub Great, which is a focus on pre-school readiness and early childhood education. So, we obviously landed right on that. Was that pandemic an impetus for that? And how has virtual programming helped you expand your audience? And particularly, did it help with your audience of women?

Lisa Purcell: Gosh, I think that's such a great question and I so appreciate it. There - the Country Music Hall of Fame in current operations. This year we'll see upwards of 1.4 million people. We'll offer more than 1100 educational programs. We will serve 4.4 million people at least via digital programming. I'm proud to say that that service to digital in the digital space did not exist pre-pandemic so that we were able as a pandemic silver lining to figure out how do we continue to serve.

Sadly, for our arts and cultural organizations and so many others, we shuttered our doors at the onset of pandemic, at the beginning of March of 2020, and we remained closed for six months. Our top source of revenue is ticket sales. So, the hit was significant and large followed by we run an events business in our beautiful spaces which is a social enterprise that I like to say supports our expensive museum habit.

And with both of those businesses offline, we lost more than $40 million of revenue. But we made and as we were looking month to month thinking this is going to turn around, we really are going to maintain staff as long as we can. Then knowing that we are funded, there's the earned revenue streams we discussed, but also a ton of contributed revenue streams and we have a contract with the public to hold a collection that is one of the most profound music collections in the world, in the public trust for all time.

And we cannot get ourselves in a financial situation that we cannot care for our collection and we cannot continue to offer educational programs. So sadly, we had to half our staff and really look closely at how we operate knowing when the tides would turn, we'd be back up and we're grateful that we returned quickly.

But goodness, one of the silver linings really is that how do we remain - give continuous service during this time when people more than ever need access to the arts. There - we all needed diversions from reality and we all needed the challenge of figuring out how to create those diversions. So, our education team and curatorial team stayed on tap.

We started offering educational programs based on what technology was available because people were in their homes. So, one of the things we found was a solution on Instagram that could allow you to be in your home and deal with another artist also at home. And after providing the training and technology with just these simple things that we could use on our social networks, the audiences were significant.

In one of the gifts was everyone was at home so we could access these amazing contributors to country music history and have remarkable conversations. And over time as technology continued to evolve and we were able to get back in the museum and we were able to increase our production qualities around some of the things.

If you looked back at what we were doing in 2020, which was really humble in hopes that everyone's interconnect connections at home worked and everyone's tolerance for that was so great because it didn't look that great. But we were like, let's do this. It's novel. Then we were able to keep moving forward and we serve in our educational general, adult audiences, family audiences. We're a global museum, but we reach deep into our own community and very young youth audiences and early learners.

So, one of the great things when you see this applied at every level, we were so fortunate pre-pandemic that right in 2019, PNC stepped up with a gift for us through the Grow of Great Program. And we were able to adapt our flagship educational program, which is called Words and Music, which teaches students of all ages really how to write an original song lyric.

And it does a thing that can only happen in Nashville, and working through songs and song lyrics have access to a lot of professional songwriters. We can set them to music and provide unique experiences. In a normal year, we write about 10,000 songs which is a lot of songs, and through pandemic there is a huge demand for that because social emotional learning is huge and literacy is huge.

And Nashville is not unlike any major metropolitan area and the challenges in school systems are often similar when I look from city to city and gosh, literacy is a huge challenge at third grade. But literacy is a huge challenge going into kindergarten and it definitely is within our head start program.

So, we were able with PNC's help to adapt Words and Music in a manner that really helped with vocabulary and confidence and broadly and song writing and that we move that program to an online and in the education space. It's asynchronous education or on demand content. And now we are back into classrooms serving about 800 kids a year, teaching vocabulary and helping with readiness for school and helping ultimately with success because reading is critical to everything.

And as a history museum with access to such great language arts programs, we're really proud to be able to adapt it to a lot of levels. And really grateful for the necessity created by pandemic to encourage us to figure out how to connect no matter what the barriers are with maximum agility and sort of seeking grace because we like to present things at such a high level, but not stopping and being consistent for people seemed even more important.

Laura Gamble: Well, thank you for that and all that you were doing for our littlest learners in the pandemic. So, turning to Caroline, the MLB had an abbreviated season in 2020 and I remember looking at games with no one in the stands, which was vastly different - a vastly different experience. How did that impact business operations at the Marlins?

Caroline O'Connor: Yeah, it was pretty impactful. So, I was CEO at the time and have always been a fan of zero-based budgeting, and there we did zero revenue budgeting, figuring out when you don't have fans, kind of what do you need? You obviously have a lot of changes on stadium operations, but it is surprising how much still has to go on within the organization.

So for us, the first onset of the pandemic, we were just almost finishing up spring training. So, we were up there having spring training games and then all of a sudden the pandemic started to heat up. And so, we shut everything down, really put our staff first, focus on things, sent our players home, sent our staff home, and then just kind of waited to see what was going on with the situation.

I want to commend Karen and our partners at Highmark. We are across all the MLB clubs, Highmark customers, and they were great as far as working with our staff, coming up with programs that really help them right away. All the tele-health that came out and then getting on top of all of the federal programs that were helping staff to get easy access to health care and not really worrying about coverage, but just getting themselves to the doctor and getting what needed to be done, done.

So that was great for us. So, making sure our staff were in a good headspace, a good place physically for them to be able to execute on their roles. So, we did a lot in the background of making the operations work. So for us, we eventually came back with no fans and that's how we played the whole 2020 season for the Marlins. That was our first playoff run in 20 years.

So, to have that without any fans was disappointing, but still an exciting event for us. And then we came back 2021 with the first half of the season. We had socially distanced fans. So again, we had to come up with another mode of operation that wasn't our standard operation. And then we were able to open up to full fans about half way through the season. And even then it was, are the fans ready to come back? How are people feeling about coming out to large public events?

So for us, we do both baseball games, but we also run our stadiums. So, concerts and special events are big for us. So definitely, it was a big challenge for us in looking at our business model. But I'm really pleased to say that right now we think there is some pent up demand for people coming up out to events.

We just hosted the World Baseball Classic. We had about half a million fans through the building in ten days. So, we think people are ready for live events. They're ready to get out make those special family memories that were really pent up during that time.

Laura Gamble: Yeah, that's great. What about yourself personally? Was there any big aha! for you during - managing through the pandemic?

Caroline O'Connor: Yeah, I think in general it's just the importance of human interaction and connectivity to people. So, when you're in the office and you see your staff, you have those opportunities to just, how are you doing? How are your kids? Oh, you're running out to the soccer game. You have those opportunities to really be human with each other. And I think when you're not together, you have to be mindful across your whole leadership team. To make those opportunities to not just have the meeting or call when you need a deliverable, but really go out of your way to check in people make a concerted effort to remind yourself that those things that just happen naturally, have to be more intentional about them because you're not passing people in the hallways.

And for us, we're really excited to get our staff back. After COVID, we looked at our workspaces and actually created a great collaborative space where people can all sit together and work together. So, I think you needed to reinforce really the importance of being together. What we get out of being in the office together. And I think people really liked coming back and that interaction with each other again.

Laura Gamble: Yeah. Thank you. I think it's something that everyone - to your point, I think there's a lot of pent up demand. People want to see each other and be with each other, which is great, especially for businesses like yours and Lisa's, where you have to be present really to enjoy it.

Continuing the theme of how hardship and challenges can be, the impetus for innovation and progress and we heard multiple examples of that from your experiences. I referenced PNC's Project 257 earlier and our desire to be a leader in helping to close that economic gender gap. Obviously, it's a challenge that requires everyone to pitch in and to do their part to make a difference.

In addition to women's under-representation in the workforce, which we've talked about, other drivers of the gap are pay inequities, unequal access to credit, and the fact that women shoulder the responsibility of care giving and the so-called unpaid work holds them back from promotions which we mentioned a little bit.

I'd love to get your viewpoints on the intersections you see in your world to close - to help close the economic gender gap. Where do you think there's opportunity for progress? Karen I know this is a passion project for you. Even though women make up 80% of the health care decisions, they use health care more than men and they're the primary caregivers as we talked about when someone gets sick, yet women are significantly under-represented in the C-suite and boardrooms of health care companies and organizations. What needs to change and what does our audience need to know so that they can help move that needle?

Karen Hanlon: Yeah, that's a great question. I think there's so much we're doing every day on this. And I - as I say that I feel really fortunate to be working in an organization where we have a lot of statistics that would tell you that we've overcome many of those obstacles. Top - of our top five executives, three are women. 50% of the executive team are women. Health care, especially in the health care delivery space, tends to be very heavily represented by women.

And so, I think if you look at our workforce in the aggregate, about two thirds of our workforce is women because we have so many people in care delivery. And yet it's something that we talk about and we have to focus on just like everybody else.

And so, it's participation in forums like this. It's the development of business resource groups that provide forums for women to collaborate with each other, to access others that can be helpful to them in advancing their career and doing the things that they can do to take ownership of their career and continue to move it forward.

Its sponsorship of women in executive development programs and participation in those both at the company level, but also at the community level as well. We're sponsoring Genders as Allies workshops so that we engage folks that are allies of women in helping them to develop and advance strategies that can advance gender equity and the promotion of those programs.

And then I think there's just the ongoing discussions about how we've all navigated. The reasons that you all are doing a forum like this to understand what are some of the barriers that women that have reached that C-suite have faced and how have they overcome those barriers and how can that knowledge and advice be helpful to women that are still progressing through their journey.

And so, while I'm really proud of what we've done here at Highmark Health on this front already, I absolutely appreciate and embrace the responsibility that I have as a woman leader to promote the dialogue and to share my knowledge. And to use the seat that I have as a forum to promote pay equity, to advance gender equality and to do all those things. And I think we've got a number of forums that we use here at Highmark Health and I'm sure the others on the panel do as well.

Laura Gamble: Thank you and thanks for your leadership and these really important issues. Lisa, when I was preparing for this conversation, I was struck by a quote from a woman who was the principal researcher on a project to study the influence of music through data. She said, if you're not a white, cis gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied male, you're not on air and you're not on the radio. So, you don't exist within the country music space.

At the same time, when I think of country music, I think of Dolly Parton, who is a veritable titan in the music industry. And I also know that the Hall of Fame and Museum features the Taylor Swift Education Center, and arguably there isn't a bigger name in music these days than Taylor Swift. So how is your organization helping support or shine a light on women in the country music field?

Lisa Purcell: Yeah, it is so dynamic. When I think of working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, we are a national history museum and our nation's history on its best day is complicated and difficult. And what you see and feel and hear in the country music space reflects that acutely. So, I am always aware of National History Museum and reflecting the culture.

But what you present, how you present it. The people that have platforms like Taylor and Dolly and how they engage are really significant. People look at women, certainly, but all people that are under-represented in whatever way they define because under-representation looks different in every room you're in and construct you're in, gosh, you just feel it and see it.

So, the responsibility is about what you present, how you present it and how you interpret it. And I'm really feel fortunate to also represent an art form that is a mixture of all of these sounds and a complicated story. So, it's everything from fiddle tunes to hymns to work songs to ballads. It comes everywhere from a holler in Appalachia to a smoky saloon out West and it takes culture forward. So, it's all represented.

In our story, the story of the museum tells, it is one of an American working class and it's really diverse. And it's not all celebrity and it's not all mainstream country music you would hear on the radio. It is embracing of Americana, of just diverse roots music forms and it's embracing of all kinds of secular music and all of the sounds of America.

So, I feel grateful that that moves forward. I feel grateful for what we represent. And then in the business of music quite truly, I'm really excited to see so many people that are in the music industry, I consider myself a person that is music industry adjacent. I'm in the non-profit museum business and my friends that are manipulating the best possible way popular culture with major recording artists high grossing acts are very much in the music business.

And right now, the CEO of the Country Music Association, which is the one of the two primary trade organizations for country music as a commercial entity is headed by a woman. We have two major record labels, Warner Music Nashville is co-headed by a woman, as is UMG, their first President and CEO ever is to be a woman was just appointed earlier this year.

So, I feel like the folks that are gatekeepers in addition to the folks that are gatekeepers for talent agencies and other major influences in what the business, the - at the highest level of country music from an earning end, which from an artistic end, there are so many highest levels of country music. And I'm grateful I get to work in an institution that holds Bluegrass music up in the same manner as chart topping billboard success because it's all of the things that are the fabric. But I feel good progress in the biggest business of it and the representation of all of the businesses of it because it's such a big tent.

Laura Gamble: Well, thank you. And thanks for all that you're doing to help lead that. Caroline, as we discussed the Marlins have made huge progress in bringing women into the top ranks of leadership. Where else do you see opportunities for progress for women and girls in traditionally male dominated sports, especially professional sports?

Caroline O'Connor: I think there's opportunity across the board. You always say, when I came out of college, I never thought of a career in professional sports. I didn't know a role like mine existed. And I think panels like this really help to raise the awareness of the types of roles that are on the business side of sports and even on the sports side of sports that women are feeling today and are great candidates for.

So, I think that as awareness spreads and as there's more people that look like us in these roles, I think you'll have more women wanting to apply to these roles. And definitely people coming from all industries makes the sports world better. We're going to have better products and I think better organizations. So, I think it's great for the sports world for people to come out of college and work in sports, but also change careers like I did and come from other industries and bring that knowledge and those thought processes into sports. I think beyond sports, I think general awareness and getting women together is really important. So, we can talk about accomplishments of women and kind of make it more comfortable to talk about what you've achieved and help other people to achieve all that they can in their careers.

PNC has been a great partner to us here at the Marlins, both on the business side but also in the community. So, they've hosted a number of organizations here that are founders, that are female business owners, really bringing them all together to build a network, whether it's helping them find the other resources that they need to build their companies or thrive in their companies and have created a great forum there. So, I think across all industries, it's really important for us to get to know each other and certainly support each other.

Laura Gamble: Thank you so much for that. On the subject of building communities and helping support networking, Lisa, we haven't talked about the fact that COI Energy is a Coralus venture and your Coralus activator as am I. Can you share with our audience what that means and talk about how initiatives like Coralus is no interest loan fund and global ecosystem of activators are helping to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs?

Lisa L. Berrien: Laura, I did not know you were a fellow activator. That's great. So Coralus is formally known as SheEO, Vicki Saunders is the founder. I consider that lady a saint. What she has done and what she's doing to really change the game for women founders in the startup ecosystem, you may all know that less than 3% of all venture capital goes to women. Less than 3%.

And women really make up the larger percentage of businesses that are starting today. And their businesses statistically have proven are more successful and we have less funding. And so, what Coralus has done is really opened up a door. A gateway for women to elevate their businesses. And when you say zero interest, a zero interest loan, you have three to five years to pay it off.

So, these activators and other founders, you see the founders supporting founders. Activators supporting founders, they'll give you a call. I've got so many calls and I continue to get calls from Activators saying, hey, I see an opportunity. Is this something that your company could take advantage of? That's what the network does.

And Vicki has truly built a platform or what we would call really a true system that's really embedding into the startup ecosystem this whole idea that doing it differently and women supporting women, we are able to elevate ourselves. We're able to get men and I won't leave men out because men are - there's men that are partners in this game with us that are really helping to support women. And we're looking to get more men in there. But we do have men that are supporting the Coralus and they're supporting the founders.

So for me, it was a game changer. I just remember when I came in and I was selected as a venture, I didn't think my business was going to make it the next month, and that's how critical it really was. And then all of a sudden like, we get this funding and then I get this community and they have this thing that's called Ask Give.

So, you ask for what you need and then what you have that you can give into the community you give. And there are women that are selfless that are really looking at how could we truly all work together and elevate the game for all. And so, I recommend Coralus to anyone that is looking at a way to really get into a community that's really supportive.

I also, as a part of being in Coralus, I started a foundation with COI Energy. It's called COI Ladder Institute, and we work with really supporting women and BIPOC founders and bringing together communities similar to what you all are doing here at PNC, just really trying to give resources out into the community to these under-represented founders that don't really have access that I'm privileged to have.

So, I've been fortunate enough to be able to be in certain rooms that other founders don't have that. And so, we provide this retreat on Martha's Vineyard every August where we open up the doors to investors, to corporate partners, legal teams, accelerators, really giving founders that access. And I got to tell you Coralus has been one of my biggest partners.

Laura Gamble: That's just - it's a wonderful story. And we've been thrilled with our partnership with Coralus. We both - we support activators internally and we also support entrepreneurs as activators and give them access. So, we just think it's been a terrific partnership.

Lisa L. Berrien: Yeah. And I didn't even say like after being on a venture and Coralus for not even two months, I became an activator. I truly believe in that business model so much. They were like, Lisa, you could wait a while. And I was like, no, I want to give back now because what they've given to me, I want to see other founders be able to benefit. So, I became an activator pretty immediately after I was selected as a venture.

Laura Gamble: Yeah, it's a great organization and it's really great to meet someone who has benefited from it like yourself. So, thank you for that.

Lisa L. Berrien: Thank you.

Laura Gamble: So, this has been an amazing conversation and sadly, we're getting close to time. In closing, I'd love to end on a high note with your thoughts on this question. What makes you hopeful about the future of women? Lisa, we'll start with you.

Lisa L. Berrien: This conversation alone, just being in a room with these dynamic women and knowing that we all are on a mission to help elevate other women and change the trajectory for women. So, this conversation has really been inspirational.

Laura Gamble: Thank you.

Karen Hanlon: Yeah, I - so first of all, I echo Lisa's comments and I'll just add to it. I think looking at the young female talent at least in our workforce and I'm sure you all would say the same, these are women who are not going to accept any barriers or are not going to even think about them. They're just going to move forward and succeed. And so, it's fun to watch the young talent grow and develop and succeed. And it's a little bit fun to be at the place in your career where you can reflect on that and appreciate it for what it is at the time. So, I just - I think the young talent holds a ton of promise.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. Lisa.

Lisa Purcell: And I feel like a pile on to what you're both saying. I'm so motivated by younger generations in the workforce and so much of a lack of seeing of any potential barriers and just moving right through it. And I feel like it is just consistently our job to keep identifying rock stars, people that consistently do the work and superstars. Folks that are going to glide through and inspire leadership and find a place for both high performing, high potential people and remove barriers and just, gosh, just hearing about some of the work that you guys have done as activators, that's so inspiring.

And just remembering outside of the C-suite function, we have entrepreneurship and women leading happens at so many levels, whether it's [inaudible] for an energy company or it's helping someone start a food truck or a store on Etsy, we're just so culpable in helping people live their best lives. So, I'm just grateful for the scalability up and down and the opportunity that we've received and that we have the opportunity to pay forward.

Laura Gamble: Thank you. And last but definitely not least, Caroline, your thoughts on this?

Caroline O'Connor: For me, it's companies like PNC that create forums like this that have women like you, Laura, in key senior roles creating exposure and awareness of this and having women be at the top of their organizations, getting together on a panel like this, I'm inspired to see everyone taking care of business. And it's great food for the soul to go out there every day and help that next generation pushing through.

Laura Gamble: Well, thank you and thank you all for participating in this Women in Business Week broadcast. It's been a wonderful conversation and I thank everyone who joined in to listen today as well. I hope you found it as inspirational, informative, and entertaining as I did.

As a reminder, there are three more webcasts happening during Women and Business Week. Tomorrow, a conversation with Allison Levine, who led the first women's Expedition to Mount Everest. Thursday, a conversation with Julie Ormond, Co-founder, and President of Angel City Football Club, the women's soccer franchise in Los Angeles. And Friday, How to Talk with Kids About Money. Please visit to learn more and to register. Thank you.