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Empowering Women in Business 2011 was held on Nichols College campus November 16th to emphasize that the time to invest in women is now.
Nichols President Susan West Engelkemeyer welcomed participants and stated that the conference was designed to promote candid conversations and workable solutions for moving each of their businesses to the next level. She gave a few choice statistics, including: “Women-owned businesses employ 7.6 million people and generate 1 trillion in sales annually, but the percentage of female Fortune 500 CEOs is only 2.4 percent.” She closed with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.”
Participants gave a warm welcome to two guest speakers. Author Martha Ackmann gave highlights of the life of Toni Stone, baseball’s “female Jackie Robinson,” featured in her book Curveball. Laurie Kirby, CBS reporter and anchor on WBZ News Radio in Boston, played audio clips from her Women’s Watch program, complete with a message to participants from Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the United States Senate from Massachusetts.
There were 20 break-out sessions, including one moderated by Patrick Mullane, CEO of Fabrico Inc. entitled Career Paths – Roads to Success. His panelists included: Chief Financial Officer Amanda Magee (Fabrico, Inc.), Business Partner Melissa Cotter (Hanover Insurance), and Director of Communications Dina Lees-Addis (Fidelity Investments). Two other sessions featured Founder and CEO of Bizminga, Ginny Wholley, discussing creative ways to fund a business and the Founder of Cakettes Coffee Shop, Tessa Dagger, recounting her inspirational story about starting her business on an innovative new product.
From 6-8 p.m., participants moved to Daniels Auditorium for networking, vendor booths and light refreshment.
This year’s Conference was sponsored by Nichols College, The Center for Women & Enterprise, Fabrico Inc., Hometown Bank, and Quabaug Corporation.