Past Events

WEDN 2016

Creative EDC sponsored the first Women’s Leadership Forum in February 2016. We invited economic developers to come together to LEARN and return to the office prepared to LEAD. The program included how to position for career moves, negotiation techniques, leadership development, public speaking, and lots of networking.

The conference gathered over 100 women from the field of economic development. We had a wonderful time learning from each other. Here are a few things participants had to say about their experience: To read the summary of the 2016 forum click here 

“I want to thank Crystal for hosting such a wonderful conference and for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it. To my fellow panelists – I so enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your experiences with your board(s). On my drive home I began to think about the topics and the speakers. It struck me that the room was filled with so many extraordinary women that made deliberate and purposeful contributions that opened doors for the generations that came after and are still yet to come! I truly felt I was a part of something so much bigger than a conference.” Karlisa Parker

“Thank you for organizing the Women in Economic Development Forum…It was wonderful! It was an excellent program and very thought-provoking. The networking was great, too! Looking forward to the next one, and hope to bring more colleagues with us.” Amy Thomson

“I wanted to thank you again for putting on such a fantastic program- it really was so informative and I’m looking forward to using the skills as I get started in this new position.” Sara Nichols

“Just wanted to follow up to let you know how valuable I felt the conference was. I really enjoyed the fact that it was mainly ED women in the day to day trenches. I hope that you will consider having it again next year.” Margie Bukowski

“Crystal, a big congratulations to you for such a great event! I thought it was great – size, facility, speakers, “forced” networking at breaks and lunch. Great job by you and your team.” Andrea Fleming

What WEDN 2016 is Reading

Books Recommended by Presenters

Liv Povar, Vice President, Business Expansions, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

TUBES by Andrew Blum

Leigh Howe, Partner, Applied Marketing

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling

Small Data by Martin Lindstrom

It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig

Crystal Morphis, Founder and CEO, Creative Economic Development Consulting

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

When the Bommers Bail: A Community Economic Survival Guide by Mark Lautman

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Life Reimagined by Richard J. Leider and Alan M. Webber

2016 Presentations and Handouts

Leigh Howe: Targeted Business Development

                    Ways to Give a Better Presentation Handout

Jenny Maxwell: Three Ways to Give a Better Presentation and Handout

Casey Steinbacher: How to Be Cool When Coolness Matters

Joan Jorgenson: Advancing Your Career

2016 Speakers and Panelists

Thank you to all of the speakers and panelists for your time and great presentations.

Negotiation Techniques

Moderator: April Lucas, Senior Counsel, Nexsen Pruet

Panelists: Debbie Harden, Partner, Womble Carlyle

Jennifer Froneberger, Asst. General Counsel, Turner Broadcasting

Jerilynn VanStory, Attorney, SC Department of Revenue

Professionalism in Recruiting

Leigh Howe, Partner, Applied Marketing

Public Speaking

Jenny Maxwell, Co-Director, The Buckley School of Public Speaking

How to be Cool…When Coolness Matters

Casey Steinbacher, Founder and CEO, Casey’s Company

Advancing Your Career

Joan Jorgenson, Managing Director and Principal, Jorgenson Consulting

Leading Your Leadership: The Basics of Board Management

Moderator: Dianne Reid, President, Chatham County EDC

Panelists: Joanna Helms, Economic Development Director, Town of Apex, NC

Liz Povar, Vice President, Business Expansions, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Karlisa Parker, Director, Chester County Economic Development


WEDN 2017



2017 Presentations

Improv for Economic Developers: Zach Ward, Owner and Artistic Director of DSI Comedy, Founder and Executive Producer of the NC Comedy Arts Festival.

Improv for Economic Developers

Innovative Marketing or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media: Colleen Walton, Marketing Strategist, Brand Acceleration

Demographic Change in the Carolinas: 5 Trends to Watch:  Dr. Rebecca Tippett, Director of Carolina Demography, Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill

rebecca tippet presentation

Three Keys to Making a Bold Career Move:  Sherry Essig, Executive and Life Coach, Flow Dynamix LLC. Three Keys to Making a Bold Career Move

Lunch Keynote-Leadership Development for Getting Things Done:  Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership. Leadership Development for Getting Things Done

When the Writing is on the Wall:  Panel Discussion: Peggy McLean, Director, Kershaw County Economic Development: Ashley Cagle, Director of Talent & Product Development, Wake County Economic Development; Penny Whiteheart-Panel Moderator, Senior Consultant, CreativeEDC

Donate: We ask that every participant bring one gently used suit, dress, or career clothing item to donate to the career closet.

Creative EDC sponsors the Women’s Economic Development Network and Leadership Forum because we believe in starting things that matter. It is one of the several nonprofit ventures we have started to Pay It Forward.

Recommended Reading and Listening


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Creative Economic Development Consulting