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Top Women Executives Lead Conference

UWF College of Business

Some of the area’s top women executives will be participating in the University of West Florida College of Business inaugural “Women in Leadership” Conference. The event will be held this Friday afternoon, Feb. 7 in the UWF Conference Center.

The conference titled “Designing Your Future” is being organized and presented by the College of Business Executive Mentor Program. Sherry Hartnett is the program’s director. “Our goal really is to continue to develop women into leaders through empowerment and support, and connections and we think people will get all of that at this conference,” she says.

The event grew out of the mission of the Executive Mentor program to meet the professional development needs of UWF business students – in this case focusing on female students. Hartnett says they realized that - from a leadership perspective - women have unique strengths and challenges, “so we wanted to develop something where we could provide tools, and strategies, and best practices that would help motivate young women to go out and conquer in their future careers.”

The “Women in Leadership” Conference gives attendees the opportunity to hear and learn from experts, and to have the opportunity to network.  For this inaugural event, there’s an impressive collection of successful women in business from the Pensacola area.

They include UWF President Dr. Judy Bense and Provost Martha Saunders. Other participants include Pam Childers, Clerk of Court; Debbie Ritchie from the Studer Group; Bentina Terry, Gulf Power; Holly Smith, H2 Consulting; Julie Sheppard, IHMC; Susan O’Conner, McDonalds; Carol Carlan, Pres. Sacred Heart Foundation; Evon Emerson, retired CEO of the Pensacola Chamber; Debbie Calder, Sr. VP of Navy Federal Credit Union; Kathy Anthony, VP of IMS ExpertServices and Chair of Vistage Florida; and Pam Bilbrey, Bilbrey & Associates.

The conference will feature though-provoking session presentations. It’ll be highlighted by two panel discussions.  One will focus on the importance of communication skills and how they are a pathway to career success.  Also, there will be a panel discussion on the importance of emotional intelligence as a core competency for great leadership.

Attendees will include a mix of college students and young female professionals; and men are invited to participate as well. 

The conference is free and open to the public; and will be held this Friday (today) in the UWF Conference Center. As of this Thursday, more 400 people had registered, double the number expected. Hartnett says they’re already looking ahead to future conferences.

Late registration continues at www.uwf.edu/womeninleadership and walk-ins will be accommodated on a space available basis.

There will be a pre-conference Roundtable Luncheon at noon, with UWF President Judy Bense presenting the opening session beginning at 1:15 p.m. The conference will conclude with closing remarks from Dr. Ed Ranelli, Dean Emeritus of the UWF College of Business, starting at 5 p.m.