For the past thirteen years, the Hogan Lovells Colorado offices have hosted “The Colorado Women’s Event,” a yearly business networking and professional enrichment event that aims to provide women with opportunities to connect through honest and intimate conversations. The women behind the initiative, Helen C. Atkeson and Liz H. Titus, both Partners at Hogan Lovells, graciously shared their thoughts about the event with me.
Q: You have been involved with hosting the Colorado Women’s Event for some time now. To start, tell us a little bit about how the event came to be and how you became involved.
A: The Colorado Women’s Event started as something women in this community would find valuable and worth their time as busy professionals and has evolved into an annual gathering and celebration for a well-established community of businesswomen.
The first event featured managing partner and head of Hogan Lovells’ Greater China Practice, Jun Wei. Jun told the personal story of her parents being put in camps and how, as a young teenager, she had to take care of her siblings and then locate her parents once they were released. Jun was the first woman in China to earn a law degree and went on to receive a second law degree from Harvard. She left guests feeling inspired and engaged. It was a memorable evening for everyone not just because of Jun and her story, but the impact her story had and the value each participant in the room placed on their experience that evening.
The concept of “an evening with” became one that Hogan Lovells has implemented each year since. Other female keynote speakers include representatives from Xcel, Davita, Liberty Media, the United States Olympic Committee, the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Warren Village, Women’s Bean Project, Urban Neighborhoods, Inc., and Work Options for Women.
Q: What makes this event different from other female-focused events?
A: When it comes to other networking events, the main point of differentiation with the Hogan Lovells Colorado Women’s Event series “An evening with” is that the focus is on an individual’s story: her background, her guiding set of principles, and how, with each success and failure, she has injected her unique outlook into her sphere of influence. There are several attributes that make the Hogan Lovells Colorado Women’s Event different from other female focused events:
The intimate nature of the event. Keeping the group smaller, their goal is to enable guests to feel free to share, interact, and engage.
Guest speakers with relatable backgrounds, challenges, and inspiring stories. No conversation topic is off the table, from career ambitions to life’s teachable moments, to challenges faced, and juggling it all as a female professional.
Guests return year after year. The feeling is that this is something that is of value, and that it’s meeting a need that isn’t met elsewhere. With this event, Hogan Lovells is building community with women in the Colorado business sector.
For the Hogan Lovells employees who participate, this event also serves as a way to further build relationships with women professionals throughout Colorado. It goes beyond a meal or networking event and offers the chance to further engage and connect.
Q: What powerful outcomes have you seen from this annual gathering?
A: Hogan Lovells and its employees who are behind this event are proud of it because it has built a sense of community amongst our peers in the Colorado businesswoman sector. Attendees build relationships, reconnect with friends, and inspire each other through mutual experiences.
In addition to a stimulating evening with a guest speaker, the event offers small group conversation after, along with mentoring opportunities between younger, newer attendees and veteran members. The Hogan Lovells participants in this event are honored to serve as connectors in the community, promoting the engagement and accolades of fellow executive women in the Denver business community.
Q: Moving forward, what do you hope to accomplish through the Colorado Women’s Event?
A: Hogan Lovells’ goal with this event has always been to provide a platform and a fun occasion to connect women business leaders to spark ideas and ways to help each other grow as professionals and in the progression of Colorado.
The fact that the Colorado Women’s Event has been going strong for over a decade now is a testament to its success in filling an important need for powerful women in the Denver business community. I am grateful to have learned about this event from the women who make it happen year after year and hope to hear about other firms following their initiative to create more opportunities for women in our community to connect and inspire each other.
Nicole Jones is currently an Appellate Law Clerk for the Honorable Diana L. Terry at the Colorado Court of Appeals. She is the Editor of the “Tales from the Trenches” column and a member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Publications Committee. Any views or opinions reflected in this publication do not reflect the position of the Colorado Court of Appeals or the Colorado Judicial Department.