Coast business women receive honors at women’s empowerment luncheon

Coast business women receive honors at women’s empowerment luncheon
More than 200 people attended the luncheon, which honored professional women across South Mississippi. (Philippe, Joyce)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Women empowering other women. That was the theme Wednesday as business women from across South Mississippi gathered for the Women of Achievement luncheon.

More than 200 leaders in business met at the Scarlet Pearl for the ladies' gathering. The luncheon was hosted by Lighthouse Business and Professional Women.

“Once you realize that you’re a queen, it’s easy to accept other women in that same capacity,” said Dr. Cynthia C. Simms during her keynote speech.

Dr. Simms encouraged women in the crowd to prioritize their own self-worth and to see each other not as competitors, but as collaborators.

For women just starting out in their careers, she offered the following advice: “Latch on to individuals who have spent lots of time in the industry and understand how they began and how they got to where they are.”

Physician Dr. Liana Rodriguez owns Wellness Within, a functional medicine clinic in Biloxi. She attended the event as a finalist for the Women of Achievement award.

“Just having the privilege and being allowed to step into peoples lives and help them really transform, it is an honor,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “I can design my business the way that I see fit. The values and beliefs really come from me and really are heart-centered.”

Dr. Jennifer Sutton was the winner of the Karen Sock Woman of the Year Award. After the event, it was back to the hospital for Sutton, who has owned Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital since 2003.

When thinking about her own success, she couldn’t help but mention the impact collaboration has played.

“Don’t be afraid. We all have had those moments when we’re self doubting and not sure that we’ve done the right thing," said Dr. Sutton. “Just put another foot forward. Some days, you’ll wonder if what you’re doing is the right thing but when you look back weeks, months, years later, you’ll realize that everything happened for a reason.”

The Lighthouse Business and Professional Women is a South Mississippi organization whose mission is to bring together professional women, support business and community relationships, and provide leadership skills and networking opportunities.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.