Published Author Category Community, Events, RTP

Inspiring female leaders and professionals across the Triangle gather at Research Triangle Park every year to share their success stories, lessons of growth and how they embrace equity in the workplace.

Right to left: Lauren McLaughlin and Jes Averhart

This year, Jes Averhart, master certified life coach and creator of Reinvention Road Trip, led a thoughtfully designed workshop to unite our community and help guests chart their course for a fulfilling, highly energized year. Joined by Lauren McLaughlin, NCPT – master pilates instructor and co-founder of Conscious7, Lauren walked guests through guided techniques to interrupt the stress cycle and improve their overall mental and physical well-being.

On Embracing Equity

The 2023 International Women’s Day theme is #embraceequity. In the video below, our panelists share how they embrace equity in the workplace. We hope these inspire you to keep the conversation going.

Equity= Access and Courage.

“What do you need access to?

Use your connections, your platforms and opportunities to build each other up and bring other perspectives to the table.

Be an ally to black women!

Have the courage to kick down the door for someone else.”

Angelique Stallings
Vice President of Community Investment
Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Why RTP?

People who are in the Triangle are exceptionally proud of being in the Triangle. Panelists shared what working in the region means for their careers and organizations.

In Laura’s current role as vice president of life sciences economic development, she’s instrumental in developing that pride of being in the Triangle. When companies consider coming to North Carolina she shares information, connections, resources, assets and behind-the-scenes facts to attract and retain life sciences jobs and investments. As part of her job she learns about all of the amazing things that are happening. “There are so many things to be excited about and be proud of.”

Laura Rowley, Ph.D
Vice President, Life Sciences Economic Development

“I have believed for a long time that Wake County and Knightdale are great places to live and now the secret is out there! We have so many opportunities in this area. People are making it home and building businesses here.

We also have great educational opportunities and connections with high schools providing additional resources and availability. Our Knightdale High School and Wake Tech Community College collaboration is just an example of how we are making the Triangle better. “

Jessica Day
Town of Knightdale

“There is opportunity for business and a way for innovation to abound. There is no limit to what I can do for my business, to connect and develop what I’m doing. The people that are accessible to us and the industry that grows here is unlike any other.

There is no need for mindset scarcity. Something I push out constantly is that a rising tide lifts all boats. There is pride in each persons place in what they do for their community.

Stacy Ahua
Usu Candle Company

“Doing my work here is rooted in my families values and community. I count myself fortunate to be in the space and tell the story, the history of the Triangle and Durham and how its evolved, changed, grown and where it’s headed. We’re in the crossroads that people are nationally recognizing the Triangle for all the great gifts that it currently has and where it can go. Being in the noprofit space, meeting different people and getting them to understand the importance of investing in the community allows me to tell that story and paint that picture of it’s legacy and history but also where we’re going. I really think im living my grandmothers dream.”

Allyson Cobb
Director of Community Engagement
United Way of the Greater Triangle

“I’m very proud to be from the Bull City. I’m proud of the work I do in the community, economic development and how much the Triangle has grown. We lead the way! There is a alot of rich, robust beauty in Durham’s black history. The black wall street and how these businesses came from there, we really hold onto that but also looking to move forward. I love being a part of that work.”

Angelique Stallings

On Empowerment and Success

“Be kind and patient to yourself and give yourself grace. You belong and deserve to be in every room. I’d tell my younger self that she was there because she earned her place and deserved to be there.”

Angelique Stallings

“Give yourself more credit. I wish someone would have told me to think through what I want, why I want to do it and how I want to do it. Articulate what you want to do so others can help you get there. Recruit ambassadors to find the right positions and the right mentors.”

Laura Rowley, Ph.D

“Trust your gut, lean into the spirit of discernment and boundaries. As women, we get a lot of slack about saying no or putting ourselves first, it’s key that we do that, especially in the workplace.”

Allyson Cobb

“Never stop learning. A lot of times when we get to a place of expertise or we’re comfortable with the knowledge we have, that’s almost a self-indicator to stop. The biggest thing I’ve learned in my entrepreneurship journey is that I don’t know everything! Keep learning and exploring.

Turn the volume up on what you love and tell people about it, tell them what you want to do, find out what you want and figure out what works for you and your personal boundaries. There should be no boundaries in how much you engage, what you want to do and what you’re passionate about.”

Stacy Ahua

“Perfection is a myth! Growing up in school, it was about being an A student and learning what I need to know to get the right answer. When you get out in life, in most cases, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s…what are your values, what do you believe in and what do you want to achieve? It was hard for me to change that mindset. If I don’t know how to do that perfectly, then I shouldn’t do it. It held me back.

You are capable! You can do this. My mentor once told me, ‘you don’t know how to do this because you’ve never done it and you’re never going to know how to do it, until you do it.’ Its pushed me in different ways. You have everything you need in you and anything you desire and want to do, you are capable!”

Mayor Jessica Day

On Leading with Vulnerability

“I have always struggled with vulnerability that it’s become a superpower for me. I acknowledge and lean into things that resonate with other people. It allows for people to see that and lean into it themselves.

Vulnerability is weaponized. We don’t want to bring our full selves but we have emotions and the power to lead and excel in a different way. It impacts the way I view the work that I do.”

Allyson Cobb

“A lot changed when I became a mom. My work is important but my child is #1. There are conversations about what you can’t do because you’re a mom. There are no special circumstances, it should be understood that you can do both.”

Laura Rowley, Ph.D

“You need to be willing to have that conversation. In this vulnerability journey, I’ve found the ability to ask for help. I’ve pushed myself beyond personal limits and opened up and acknowledged I needed help and was met with people that were here for me and to support me.”

Mayor Jessica Day

On Burnout

Stacy moved to North Carolina for an organization that didn’t value any of the skills she brought to the table. She was already feeling burnt out before being sent due to the pandemic and used it as fuel to step into her business. “Often times people are met with suppression or lack of equity or visibility within their organization. There is a lack of acknowledgement of skillset and value that is going to be a reckoning because you have to have employees for your busness, and if youre showing that you don’t value what your employees bring to the table, its going to be hard to get anybody with the same or different qualifiactions to come to that table.

I generally encourange people if you’re passionate about developing a skillset that is not available in or through your organization, ask other people about what they do, how they do it and if they are in a position you want to be in, how they made that transition, because it’s entirely possible.”

Stacy Ahua

“I work with alot of women and businesses where people are quiet quitting. We’re just trying to figure out why you don’t have to work 60 hours a week to prove anything. It’s ok to take a day off and tell people, dont contact me.

Encourage your friends, your sisters, your circle, your tribe and yourself to try something else! Go figure out how to open your own business or get certified in something else.

This is my soft season. I’m tired of being the superwoman. I’m tired of being everything to everyone. I want to be able to be a woman in every sense of what that means to me. Im encouraging other people to be unapologetically selfish.

Take care of yourself…for you. No is a complete sentence. Allow yourself to do that!!”

Angelique Stallings

About the Research Triangle Foundation

As stewards of the Park, RTF leads the Triangle in creating a thriving business environment, promoting economic development, and facilitating strategic partnerships that benefit our region and state. Through its commitment to fostering connections, environmental stewardship, innovation and collaboration, the Foundation invests in programs that cultivate vibrant communities within the Park.

Our core mission since the founding of RTP in 1959:

  • Facilitate collaboration between the Triangle universities.
  • Promote cooperation between universities and industry.
  • Create an economic impact for residents of North Carolina.