Women serving in leadership roles in business, government and education in Western North Carolina will be among the speakers and panelists for the inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference coming up Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, at Western Carolina University.
Part of WCU’s observance of Women’s History Month, the conference will begin with registration at 6 p.m. March 27 in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center, followed by an opening session and reception. Activities planned for March 28 include a series of breakout and panel sessions to be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“The conference brings an opportunity for people of different backgrounds and genders to come together at WCU and get involved in activities to encourage a strong female community in Western North Carolina,” said Brandon Tigue, WCU’s interim director of intercultural affairs. “The conference has been planned with an emphasis on fellowship, building professional networks and experiencing the diversity of women leaders who are ideal role models.”
The breakout sessions will focus on career development, work-life balance, developing energy and fitness for leadership roles, opportunities for women in information technology, the leadership practicum in the nursing curriculum and advocacy for African-American women.
WCU faculty and staff members who will be leading sessions include Mardy Ashe, director of career services; Cheryl Conway, assistant professor of nursing; Laura Cruz, director of Coulter Faculty Commons; Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, assistant professor of human services; and Debby Singleton, visiting instructor in the School of Teaching and Learning. Katy Travitz, a partner in Moonshadow Leadership Solutions of Bryson City will lead a session titled “Fit to Lead.”
A series of panel sessions beginning at 2 p.m. March 28 will focus on topics ranging from ethnic diversity in the workplace to advocacy for women on parole. The panelists will be Brenda Mills, economic development specialist for the city of Asheville; Marsha Crites, executive director of the Clean Slate Coalition; Ellen Carmichael, regional director for CARE Action Network; Marcy Onieal, Waynesville town manager; Julie Spiro, executive director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, and Billi Black, governor for Western North Carolina’s Rotary International District 7670.
The WCU panelists will be Anne Aldrich, executive assistant in the Office of the Provost; Carol Burton, associate provost for undergraduate studies; A. J. Grube, head of the Department of Business Administration and law; Sur Ah Hahn, assistant professor of social work; Yumiko Ono, instructor of Japanese; and Meg White, director of development.
The Women’s Leadership Conference is free for WCU students, $10 for WCU faculty and staff members and alumni, and $25 for others. The cost covers the reception on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.