Women Networking in Electronic Trans-actions (W.net), founded in 2005 to inspire and empower women in the payments industry, presented the winners of its inaugural Driving Improvement Via Action (DIVA) awards at the Designer BootCamp Career Development and Leadership Summit Oct. 23 and 24, 2008.
"It was really a phenomenal event that brought women from across the country together," said Victoria Tobin, W.Net's Managing Director. "The response was amazing, and our attendees were thrilled with the networking opportunities, the breakout sessions and the high level speakers. Mary Gerdts, W.net's President, really put her heart and soul into making this event and setting the standards for our BootCamps from here on out, and we see it only getting better." Approximately 75 women representing financial institutions from across the United States descended on the Westin Hotel in Chicago for the two-day event. Tobin said the DIVA awards recognize individuals and companies working to promote women in the industry and further the mission of W.net.
The first honoree was Robert O. Carr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Payment Systems Inc. Carr received the W.net Stiletto Award, the association's highest honor. The Stiletto Award, W.net said, "celebrates the person who works tirelessly to empower women for great success and who demonstrates a commitment to elevating the status of women to new heights within the industry."
The award honors Carr's extraordinary support and dedication to W.net in its early, formative stages and to his consistent promotion of women in electronic transactions. Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC received the W.net Diversity Champion Award, which recognizes a W.net corporate sponsor that exemplifies the spirit of diversity through contributions within the organization and demonstrates leadership in expanding opportunities for women in its management ranks.
Chase Paymentech initiated, hosted and sponsored the first regional W.net event in New York in 2007. This provided the impetus for launching local W.net LINCs (Local Interest Networking Circles) in eight major cities across the country.
Linda Rossetti, President of ISO Bluestone Payments, was given the W.net Spirit Award. This award goes to a W.net committee volunteer who exemplifies outstanding leadership within the association and who encourages and motivates others to participate in the promotion and support of the W.net brand.
Rossetti was honored for her "early and passionate endorsement of W.net to the payments industry," for her participation on the organization's Corporate Sponsorship Committee, and for her time and dedication as the Atlanta LINC Leader.
"We really tried to make sure these beautiful crystal awards are not only a thank you to these very deserving individuals, but also something they can put on their shelf and be proud of," Tobin said.
"We are very conscious that we wanted to appropriately acknowledge these people for all of the amazing work that they do."
The conference ended with the inspirational song, "I am woman," written by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton. For Tobin, the song reinforces the message that, as a group, women payment professionals have come far and will continue to increase in numbers and importance.
"There are so many things that we've done to come so far in this industry," Tobin said. "Now we have to take it further, to help others that are behind us. This, I believe, is one of the most amazing things that W.net is able to do, and that is to recognize the accomplishments of these wonderful women, but also to make sure that we are laying the appropriate groundwork for them to follow and give them the roadmap they need to succeed."
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