Timely topics, powerful speakers highlight Women's Leadership Conference at Mount St. Mary's College

Sep 10, 2013, 17:48 ET from Mount St. Mary's College

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trailblazers in the fields of medicine and sports, heart surgeon Dr. Kathy Magliato and Paralympic medalist Bonnie St. John offered leadership lessons to a sold-out crowd at Mount St. Mary's College's 2013 Women's Leadership Conference.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130910/DC77625)

The conference took place at a pivotal time in Los Angeles, where women hold fewer business and political positions of leadership in the nation's second-largest city. According to Mount St. Mary's latest Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™, those trends extend beyond L.A. In California alone, just 9 percent of the state's mayors are female. Only 3 percent of the state's CEOs are women, and California females comprise just 11 percent of corporate boards.

Dr. Kathy Magliato opened Saturday's event with a talk on "leading with heart." One of the few female cardiothoracic heart surgeons in the United States, Magliato serves as director of women's cardiac services at Saint John's Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

"If you have a goal and someone tells you 'no,' go and find someone who tells you 'yes,'" Magliato said. "Part of being a leader is not just having passion, but being able to communicate that passion to others."

Bonnie St. John closed the conference by sharing her life story, one that took her from losing a leg at age 5 to Olympic glory as the first African American to win ski-racing medals during the 1984 Paralympics. St. John later became a White House economic adviser, a Fortune 500 business consultant and a prolific author.

"Always look forward," she said. "Great women leaders continue to work at getting better. A little bit at a time, all the time."

St. John also led a book discussion with more than 50 first-year students from Mount St. Mary's, the only women's college in Los Angeles. St. John engaged these young women in an open conversation on her latest book, How Great Women Lead.

A panel discussion on "Women Leading the Way in L.A." featured Dr. Helen Boutrous, chair of Mount St. Mary's History and Political Science department; Araceli Campos, president of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women; Kimberly Freeman, director of community relations for the Southern California Gas Company; and Gwen Miller, executive vice president and manager of City National Bank's private client services.

"This was my first time at the Women's Leadership Conference and it left me speechless," said Alba Arana, a junior at Mount St. Mary's College. "These women's accomplishments are life-changing examples for me."

LINK: www.msmc.la.edu/WLC

About Mount St. Mary's College
Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences. Primarily a women's college, more than 50 percent of our scholars are first-generation college students. We are dedicated to providing a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit of service. For more information, visit www.msmc.la.edu.

SOURCE Mount St. Mary's College