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November 7, 2022

Hello, Raleigh! We are bringing Women > A Force in Business, Raleigh’s premier conference uniting professional women and their advocates, fully back to in person this fall. Gather with ambitious women and their male peers to equip yourself with the latest tools and strategies for career advancement, personal wellness, and professional fulfillment. This full-day event promotes leadership development, advocacy, mentorship, self-care, and balance as we continue adjusting to the ever-changing ways of working and living.

Customize your event experience:

  • Dynamic and motivational keynote speakers.
  • Six informative breakout sessions with Q&A, plus pop-ups on timely topics.
  • Exhibitor hall spotlighting organizations that help support professional and personal growth.
  • Ample networking opportunities to expand your community.
  • Women’s bookstore featuring latest leadership and personal development titles. Support a local, women-managed business!
  • On-site professional headshot photographer and more.

Watch a highlight of last year’s conference to get a sneak peek of what we are planning:

Presented By
  • Fidelity Investments Logo


Monday, November 7
8:00 amEvent Opens
8:45 amOpening Keynote: The "And" Life: Beating Burnout Without Quitting Your Job

Colleen Hauk

Women left the workforce at a 27% higher attrition rate than men in 2020 due to the increased challenges of balancing career and personal life. In this session, you will learn to meet life’s demands and beat burnout.

10:00 amNetworking Break
  • Book Signing: Colleen Hauk, “Women Who Ignite”
  • Pop-Up Session: The Future of the Workforce: How Scaling a Company With Contingent Talent Can Strengthen Your Team, Presented by Maari Casey, Founder & Owner, UnCompany
10:30 amBreakout Session I

Leveraging Levity in Leadership: How to Use Humor to Reduce Stress & Build Bonds
Sharon Delaney McCloud

Face it, you’ve got to retain your top talent and recruit the next rock stars for your team. But now, more than ever before, you must create an environment where people are motivated and empowered to deliver their very best work while building trusted relationships at the same time. Not an easy task. During this high-energy presentation, corporate communications pro Sharon Delaney McCloud shows you why and how you need to leverage levity and proven retention strategies in your leadership toolbox today. You will learn how levity can change the dynamic of your team, actionable ways to reduce stress and build bonds by using levity lessons & retention techniques, and ways to make your team feel like they belong at your organization.

Own Who You Are

  • Lisa Freiden Hammond, Chief Human Resources Officer, Veradigm
  • Kendall Latham, Education Strategist, Dell Technologies
  • Nesha Pai Singer, CPA, Managing Member, Pai CPA, PLLC
  • Kristen Saranteas, Treasury Management Services Executive Group Vice President, First Citizens Bank

Ever more than before, it is evident that career progress is rooted in knowing ourselves on a deep level – in trusting our individual strengths and uncovering our blind spots. In this interactive session, you will learn how to navigate tough conversations with authenticity, illustrate your value with assertiveness, demonstrate what you can bring to the table, set clear boundaries, and overcome “I am not good enough.” It’s time to take control of your life and tell your story.

The Impacts of Active Allyship

  • Brenda Velasquez Wagner, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Global Employee Relations and Compliance, LabCorp

While DEI in the workplace has taken great strides, allyship creates equal opportunities across the organization–regardless of age, gender, or race– and continues to be vital for building a successful workforce, business, and legacy. Bringing out the best in individuals and teams, amplifying their skill sets to unleash their potential, and taking them along on a professional path are ways you can make an impact through allyship. In this session, panelists will explore formal and informal strategies to maximize your impact and become an active ally.

11:30 amLunch and Keynote: Redefining Work: Building Mission-Driven and Value-Centered Careers

Erica Williams Simon

Erica Williams Simon is the first to admit she used to be a workaholic, believing that “work was the key to building a big, beautiful, successful life.” But by her twenties, she was burnt out, broken, and hopeless, so she walked away from her job. Intent on unpacking how she reached this point, she scrutinized how the stories (what Erica calls “the walls of our society and our culture”) about work had shaped her.

She discovered that “job” and “work” are often used interchangeably. But the true meaning of “work” is efforts that we put towards something, hoping to achieve a particular purpose or outcome. When Erica thought of it from that perspective, she realized her job was not her work. And that made her wonder:
• What are the purposes of my life that are worth my effort beyond my career?
• Where should I be applying more work beyond my career?
• And ultimately, what would happen if I built my career from a place of wholeness? What if we all built our careers and businesses from a place of wholeness first?

In this session, Erica invites you to rewrite the story of your work and ask yourself tough questions to find your purpose and mission.

1:15 pmNetworking Break

Book Signing: Erica Williams Simon, “You Deserve the Truth: Change the Stories that Shaped Your World and Build a World-Changing Life”

1:45 pmBreakout Session II

The R.O.A.R. Mindset for Women
Dionne McGee, CEO, DG McGee Enterprises

We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, caretakers and so much more. We wear so many hats. Somewhere along the way, we lose ourselves helping others achieve their goals. Simply put we were designed to nurture, but who nurtures women? This presentation demonstrates how imperative it is to find your true authentic voice and achieve the goals, dreams passions, and ideas that you desire. Finding your own voice completes you. What’s next for you in your career or business? We’ll drill down to find your ROAR so that you’ll be complete and can then be the light for others. Get the tips and techniques to prepare you to ROAR!

Women’s Mental Health Across the Life Span: How to Be Your Best at Every Age
Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Assad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and Chair, UNC Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Often, the most important step on the road to mental health is acknowledging the need to act. For women, that first step can be challenging due to societal pressures to be all things to everyone. In this session, world-renowned psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody will share what you need to know to take care of your mental health during all the stages of your life.

Let’s Get Serious about (Having) Fun

  • Taylor Dewberry, Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer, Smith Anderson
  • Moderator: Ann Marie Taepke, Chief Marketing Officer, Holderness Family Productions

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” – Walt Whitman. When is the last time you experienced pure joy? Take a moment to truly reflect… Research has proven that having fun leads to creativity, builds productivity, and reduces stress. So why do we not have more of it? Let’s shake things up a bit! Join our speakers in an uplifting conversation on how to get a daily dose of fun into your life to revitalize, boost your happiness, and enhance your relationships.

2:45 pmClosing Reception

Book Signing: Dionne McGee, “Finding Your Roar: The Lion in Leadership”

3:15 pmEvent Concludes