Illinois Diversity Council's Women's Conference: an inspirational event

Austin Weekly News' staff attend educational conference

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By Dawn Ferencak

Sales Representative

The talented and creative team of Austin Weekly News women attended the Illinois Diversity Council's Fifth Annual Women's ConferenceThis year's theme was Transformational Leadership: From Vision to Impact. The goal of the conference was "to explore the role of women as transformational leaders and champions of positive change in their organization."

The event, held at The Double Tree by Hilton in Chicago on April 25th, included a welcome speech by Dennis Kennedy, Founder & CEO of the National Diversity Council, and keynote speaker Donna Brazile, veteran democratic political strategist and founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates, LLC.

The day began with a continental breakfast and awards ceremony recognizing 17 of the Most Powerful & Influencial Women in Illinois. 

The conference included sessions on a variety of topics, such as "Your Value Proposition: The Key to Marketing Yourself Successfully," "Building & Leveraging Effective Relationships in Business," and "Women of Color: Striving for Excellence."

Presentations were enjoyed by all. Not only did they include professional advice, but also personal stories from the speakers. 

Austin Weekly News' Associate Publisher Dawn Ferencak expertly moderated "The Power of She," using her experience hosting meetings of West Side Women to her advantage. Panelists during this session were The Honorable Patricia Brown Holmes, Partner, Schiff Hardin, LLP; Elba Aranda-Suh, Executive Director, National Latino Education Institute; Monica Mosby, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; and Mandeep Grewal, Managing Director Customer Service, United Airlines.

Attending on behalf of Austin Weekly News was Alicia Plomin, Ashley Lisenby, Maggie Acker, La Risa Lynch, Loretta Ragsdell, and Dawn Ferencak, along with West Side Business Network partners  

The Austin Weekly News' West Side Business Network is so proud to have facilitated the connection of two of our members as speakers at the Women's Conference. Stacia Crawford of the Austin African American Business Networking Association and Michelle Collins of SomerCor Inc were speakers during the session "Women Who Mean Business: A Discussion with Successful Entrepreneurs."

"I had a great time with you and the Austin Weekly News team at the Women's Conference. Thanks for recommending me. I met some phenomenal people at the event and I learned a lot at the breakout sessions as well. I look forward to seeing you soon."
~ Stacia

Email: Twitter: @Dawn_Ferencak

Reader Comments

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Dennis Kennedy from Pearland, TX  

Posted: May 3rd, 2014 9:25 AM

Thank you all for participating. The article is awesome. We have received great feedback. Dennis Kennedy

Loretta Ragsdell from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 4:29 PM

I was one of the best events I have attended in years. I learned and shared so much. The women were phenomenal! I am looking forward to the next one.

Ashley Lisenby from Chicago, Illinois Austin Weekly News Employee

Posted: April 30th, 2014 12:57 PM

It was so lovely to hear from and meet such intelligent, creative and accomplished women. Donna Brazile's talk on creating room for all people at the table of progress and success will not soon be forgotten. I've got more tools in the leadership toolbox because of this conference.

Michelle Collins from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2014 1:18 PM

Dawn, Thanks for the introduction to this awesome organization. The conference provided an excellent opportunity to exchange information with many powerful women. I was most inspired by the encouraging words of Donna Brazile, who reminded us that in every venue, we are stronger and better when diversity is embraced.

Empowered Woman  

Posted: April 29th, 2014 12:48 PM

I felt extremely empowered after this conference! So happy to have had the chance to hear stories and advice from influential women and am excited to implement those tips at work and in my personal life. I recommend businesses send representatives to events like this. It's staff development at it's very best!

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