Celebrations, Reflections & More

WE Lead Forum: Where Women Succeed

Women in health care empower each other at one of our firm’s most impactful leadership events.

Jamie Pennington, Scharrel Jackson, Dr. Kelly Elmore, Stacy: Four women standing in a circle smiling and chatting.

More than 100 women attended the Health Care Women’s Executive Leadership Forum (WE Lead Forum), a half-day program for women at all levels to meaningfully connect and discuss industry-specific issues before the Annual Health Care Conference in Las Vegas.

Transformational Leadership

The WE Lead Forum included a panel discussion, a roundtable workshop, and a networking reception to develop and advance women leaders in health care. The keynote speaker was Scharrell Jackson, a former executive across many industries. Her presentation, which addressed advocating for oneself to be a better leader, connected with the forum’s overall theme: personal and professional transformation.

Stacy Stelzriede, a partner in Irvine, California, and leader of the WE Lead Forum, has attended many conferences but rarely sees attendees as engaged as they were during the WE Lead Forum.

“The energy in the room was amazing,” Stacy recalled. “Many were taking notes as statements made by our speakers and panelists resonated with them both at a professional and personal level, and everyone was engaged in the discussion.”

Stacy’s passion for the WE Lead Forum is inspired by her experience navigating career and family, and her desire to pay it forward by providing mentorship opportunities to women in the health care industry.

“Forum W is the perfect example of a success story for women leaders,” Stacy said. Forum W, a business resource group at Moss Adams, focuses on the advancement of women at the firm. “In the 14 years I’ve been at Moss Adams, it’s been incredible to watch Forum W help us grow our percentage of women partners. It demonstrates the impact of focusing on an issue within the workforce. With WE Lead, we wanted to move the same needle externally.”

One of the homegrown partners at Moss Adams is Aparna Venkateswaran, one of the founding committee members for WE Lead. Several women leaders at Moss Adams, including Stacy, played a vital role in Aparna’s career trajectory. Mentorship through her relationships in Forum W and the wisdom she’s gathered from client collaboration developed Aparna into a leader at Moss Adams—and she’s grateful the WE Lead Forum is providing a similar opportunity for women in health care.

Dr Kelly Elmore (Panelist) and Aparna Venkateswaran: Two women gather for a photo in front of a conference room of other attendees.

“There were non-executives in the room,” Aparna said. “Junior team members were also invited to attend, and I connected with a couple of senior managers at our firm who really valued listening to the keynote speaker. Scharrell Jackson’s experience juggling her responsibilities of work and family reflected where they are in their careers, and they had great takeaways to prioritize what’s important to them personally and professionally.”

Room for Growth

One reason the WE Lead Forum succeeds is the limited guest list that allows for vulnerability and intentional networking. Still, the appetite for attendance has quickly grown—2023 registrations nearly doubled the inaugural event in 2022. The increased momentum has the WE Lead committee considering opportunities for expansion without diluting the personal touch.

“We’re forming regional chapters to bring women together,” Stacy said. “We want to build networks to create a setting for honest dialogue that ultimately helps us connect.”

The WE Lead events have inspired women across the firm and beyond, leading to new business referrals and considerations for similar events in other industries.

“It’s a testament to the event’s impact,” Aparna said. “Any organization is only as good as its people, and the more time we spend investing in developing new leaders who are authentically themselves, the more we all succeed. That’s why the forum was so powerful. We walked away feeling understood, and people realized they were not alone.”

Aparna, Stacy, and Donna Brazile: Three women gather for a photo at a conference.

Inclusion and Diversity at Moss Adams

Moss Adams is committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse culture where everyone feels like they belong. This means investing in opportunities for our people to find community and mentorship to support their professional development at our firm and beyond.

Learn more about our inclusion and diversity progress on our website.

Go Beyond the Desk

At Moss Adams, we believe in the power of possible to empower our clients and people to pursue success however they define it. Explore stories about our professionals, including their personal achievements, at our Beyond the Desk page.