More than 150 business professionals gathered recently at the Chamber’s annual Women Take Charge event to celebrate the accomplishments of today’s businesswomen and explore the value of giving back to the regional business community.

The event, which was held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, featured a panel of prominent female executives who shared their own professional experiences and the various ways they are paying it forward. Panelists included Suzanne Boda, Senior Vice President Airport Customer Service, International, Cargo US Airways; Joan Carter, President, The Union League of Philadelphia; Ninfa M. Saunders, MSN, MBA, Ph.D., President & COO, Virtua and Melonease Shaw, President & CEO Maven, Inc. The discussion was moderated by Kristina Rentschler, Managing Director, KPMG.

An attentive audience listened as the panelists spoke extensively on the value of mentor relationships and offered advice to those seeking to find a mentor. “Look for various mentors with different skill sets,” said Carter, who also advised, “You cannot rely on a mentor to get you to the next level. As a mentee, you need to challenge yourself.”

Having served as mentors themselves, the panelists also offered advice to those in the audience seeking to work with young professionals. “You don’t have to be successful to be a mentor,” said Saunders, “but you have to be someone people want to emulate.” Saunders added that through her seven mentor relationships a year, she has learned more from her mentees than her mentees have learned from her.

In addition, the panelists discussed how leaders can motivate young women professionals within their company, and offered guidance to women looking to develop a personal brand. “To motivate my employees, I offer immediate feedback when someone does a great job,” explained Shaw. “It helps them become confident quicker and learn what they are doing well.” Carter went on to emphasize the importance of dress in branding, advising attendees to “dress like who you want to be, not who you are.”

View photos from the event.