PA Conference for Women provides inspiration, information

Karla Troman speaks at the 2017 PA Conference for Women
Electro Soft Executive Vice President Karla Trotman, left, and Rene Syler, former CBS Early Show host pose for a photo at the 2017 Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

Earlier this month Electro Soft Executive Vice President Karla Trotman, at the request of her alma mater, Drexel University, spoke at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Held in the LeBow College of Business Career Pavilion, the event drew 12,000 attendees and was the largest conference held by the organization to date. Headliners included Carla Harris, Shonda Rhimes, Brené Brown and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Karla spoke about her journey to earn her master’s degree in business administration. “There is never a good time in life to stop and complete a graduate degree,” she told the audience. “One has to make the time for herself and move forward.” She also encouraged women to visit programs in the area to find a good fit.

She recounted the times that she and her children would all sit at the dining room table to complete their homework together. She said along with providing a sense of unity, “it set an example of how to focus and be a good student.”

Karla shared the stage with Angela Dowd-Burton, MBA, president of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-NJ and former Deputy Director of Commerce in the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia; and Elaine Goldwater, Director of Global Marketing, Antibacterials at Merck.

Karla said she was able to spend the earlier part of the day learning from some of her personal heroes. Carla Harris taught her to use her voice and take risks. Harris, she says, “highlighted that mistakes are valid and valuable assets.” Brené Brown inspired the audience to walk through the world with “a soft front, a strong back and a brave heart.” Michelle Obama, she said, “shared how as working mothers our performance cannot be measured by the same stick as others … and how she told her bosses, ‘you will get output how I am able to deliver it.  Not according to your standard.’

“It was an inspiring day,” Karla said. “I felt so humbled by the simple invitation to speak at an event where so many of my heroes took the stage.”