During her speech, Cramer covers three topics: how women can break down barriers to success, how to build a “courageous and bold” foundation of values to stand on, and the keys to success that she has learned over the decades as a business leader.
She began by telling a story of when she was appointed to Georgia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers.
“And of course, the board of engineers is made up of all white men,” Cramer said. “They looked at us, especially the Georgia Tech women, and [chanted] geek, geek, geek. I’d sit there and just be mortified.”
She recalled coming to one of the board’s meetings early and sitting at the head of the table. Joking, the other members asked her if she thought she could lead the meeting. Crowder responded with a confident “Yes.”
During the meeting, everyone participated so they got all the work done and were able to go home early. From then on, the other board members asked if she could chair all the meetings, which she did for the last eight of her 10 years on the board.
“But it’s not just where you sit,” Cramer explained. “It’s what you say.”
While Cramer had earned her seat at that table, she emphasized it was just as important for her to establish her own foundation of values and beliefs to stand on and use her leadership to enact change.
She said all female leaders should allow for a diverse set of voices to be heard and to reshape the social landscape in a positive way.
Cramer’s five keys to success in business were:
Understand your values;
Manage your energy;
Frame problems positively;
Connect with friends;
Engage with the community.