January 2019 Motivate

Paving the Way for Women in Leadership Roles


Written By: Kayla Price

With a focus on celebrating the strengths of successful women, the Inspiring Women Leaders Conference, to be held on March 7-8, 2019, at the University of Florida Hilton Conference Center, aims to help participants overcome career obstacles, hone their leadership skills and leave the event ready to take on anything that the industry throws at them.

Now in its second year, the conference originally began as leadership workshops specifically for women.

“Near the end of 2016 they were hugely popular, and after nine months we had over 200 women go through these programs,” said Assistant Director Laurel Brown.

As there were no local conferences providing the same development, the next step was to gather a committee of dynamic, intelligent women and launch the first conference on International Women’s Day in March 2018, Brown said.

Though the conference is catered toward women, men are encouraged to attend as well.

“We need men in the room as we talk about empowerment, diversity and overcoming obstacles, otherwise nothing will ever change to balance some of the lingering inequalities in today’s workforce,” Brown said. 

The event challenges participants to sharpen their skills, interact with those around them and learn to tackle diversity and inclusion in the workplace to achieve a positive impact on their community, career and home, Brown said.

The basic leadership skills emphasized in the conference transfer to various industries, both locally and nationwide. The conference even offers 10 scholarships to high school seniors to encourage leadership development, Brown said.

Prior to the event, the #SheLeadsWith campaign highlights local women who exemplify leadership, service, engagement in the community and an overall embodiment of leading like a woman. The campaign seeks to inspire more women to overcome their challenges and obstacles.

In 2018, the Inspiring Women Leaders Conference brought people together from various Florida cities, eight states and two countries. A message of overcoming fear rang out throughout the crowd and encouraged one participant who dreamed of auditioning for The Voice to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

“I want to accomplish all that we did last year and more,” Brown said. Our concluding speaker this year will take us through steps on how we can put into action our ideas, goals and aspirations “This is an excellent way to sum up and apply two days of exceptional learning.”

This year, the goal of the Inspiring Women Leaders Conference is to reinvent the way women and men think about leadership roles in a manner that allows them to easily tackle critical issues, regardless of gender. Through a reimagined way of thinking, the conference hopes to empower women to become leaders in the workforce and give them the confidence to overcome their fears and achieve their dreams.

Please visit the website (conferences.dce.ufl.edu/inspiring-women-leaders/) to register for the event and learn more about the event and its keynote speakers. 

The Inspiring Women Leaders Conference is grateful for those in the community who have so generously sponsored the event: 

Champion Level: 

  • Advantage Publishing
  • Warrington College of Business MBA/DBA
  • Exactech
  • Irving Publications (Giggle and Wellness 360)

Trail Blazer Level: 

  • Info Tech
  • ESSIE Fracture
  • Campus USA
  • Eat the 80
  • Infinite Energy
  • Fracture
  • Campus USA
  • Eat the 80
  • Infinite Energy

Change Maker Level: 

  • Blakeland Construction
  • SharpSpring
  • Collaboratory
  • Team Dynamo 

IWL is still accepting sponsors. For those interested, please visit: conferences.dce.ufl.edu/inspiring-women-leaders/sponsors/ 

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