Inaugural Leadership Conference sold out

Posted Online: Oct. 01, 2012, 1:43 pm
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Press release submitted by Colleen Rafferty

Our inaugural "Daring to Live and Lead with Purpose" women's leadership conference on October 4 sold out more than a month in advance, underscoring the imperative in our region for substantive leadership development for women. We hope you can cover this important community initiative.

Women's Connection to present Inaugural Leadership Conference to sold-out crowd.

Women's Connection's inaugural "Daring to Live and Lead with Purpose" women's leadership conference, scheduled for Thursday, October 4, QC Waterfront Convention Center, Bettendorf, will feature a sold-out crowd of 400 regional women. Presented in collaboration with the IWLC (Iowa Women's Leadership Conference), this half-day conference will provide attendees with education, networking, business skills and empowerment to achieve greater personal and professional leadership. Gold sponsors are DHCU Community Credit Union and Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

"The fact this conference sold out more than a month in advance underscores there is unmet need in our region for substantive leadership development for women," says Women's Connection co-Executive Director Colleen Rafferty. "And the tremendous support we've received from regional employers is a testament to their commitment to gender diversity."

The first of this caliber in the Quad Cities focusing solely on developing women leaders, the conference will feature world-class keynote speakers and educators, including famed distance swimmer and journalist Diana Nyad, Georgia's first African American Chief Presiding Judge Glenda Hatchett, Brigadier General Becky Halstead, MPowerment Works Founder Marisa Rivera-Albert and Integrity Integrated President Ginny Wilson-Peters.

Conference attendees will learn about effective management, smart risk-taking, leading with discipline and integrity, five keys to productive networking, how to align tactics with strategic vision, and much more. Networking time will be provided throughout the day, and 42 regional businesses and non-profits will be featured in the conference exhibit hall.

Although women make up nearly half the workforce, they are an underutilized and often overlooked resource in many companies and other public and private sector organizations. This is in spite of numerous studies identifying a strong positive correlation between gender-balanced leadership and profitability:

Catalyst's 2011 data found companies with the most women leaders – board directors and executives – outperformed those with the least by 16 percent return on sales and 26 percent return on invested capital.

Pepperdine University research shows that organizations on Fortune's list of the "100 Most Desirable MBA Employers" for women outperformed industry medians in the areas of profits as a percentage of revenue, profits as a percentage of assets and profits as a percentage of equity.

Recent data from World Bank shows that 90 percent of a woman's income is reinvested in her family and her community, compared to 30-40 percent of a man's income. Since women invest in food, health care, home improvement and schooling for themselves and their children, women's progress translates to society's progress.

"Data shows that women's median income is 21 percent less than that of men for the same job. Research also shows that, if current trends continue, it won't be long before more women than men are the primary bread winners in their families. This income gap will mean lost income and revenues across the region," says Women's Connection co-Executive Director Nancy Renkes. "Providing women with the education, tools and empowerment to attain greater leadership and move up the economic ladder is crucial to the continued economic growth and success of our region."

Immediately following the conference, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the QC Waterfront Convention Center, there will be a presentation on the She Matters: 2012 Status of Women and Girls in Iowa Report, facilitated by Chrysalis Executive Director Terry Hernandez. She Matters was compiled by the Women's Leadership Project, a public/private partnership of Iowa organizations.

To reinforce lessons learned at the conference, a Post-conference Power Lunch will be held on October 25, 11:30 1 p.m., at the St. Ambrose University Office of Professional Development at the NewVentures Center, Davenport. Featuring trained facilitators, the Power Lunch will help attendees harness their knowledge and inspiration from the conference into tangible action in their personal and professional lives. Cost for the Post-conference Power Lunch is $10.

Conference in-kind partners are Integrity Integrated, Isabel Bloom and the Quad-City Times. Women's Connection's key partners are Royal Neighbors of America and Trinity Regional Health System.

With more than 800 members, the Women's Connection is one of the largest women's organizations in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Women's Connection is a non-partisan, non-religious, non-profit 501(C)(3) organization with a mission to inspire, educate, connect and empower women.


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