More than 100 economic development professionals participated in this year’s Women’s Economic Development Network forum making it a huge success. We reinforced the tagline of WEDN – Learn and Lead – with programming on leadership, career pathways, and forward-thinking presentations on talent, placemaking, and entrepreneurship.
This may have been our best year of programming yet. James Chavez kicked-off the forum with a heartfelt message about the “Amazing Women of Influence and the Lessons I Learned.” James profiled people that have been mentors and influencers of his career. James was followed by the Exploring Career Pathways Panel featuring Cyndi Dancy, Amy Sullivan-Hicks, and Charity Barbee. They talked about how to flow in and out of economic development related careers. Special thanks to Peggy McLean who kicked off our dinner conversation about #MeToo.
Thursday morning we got fired up about talent attraction and development. Kristin Reese showcased Cleveland County’s talent recruitment campaign, Charlotte’s Backyard. She was followed by LeeAnn Nixon who shared the Go Bold! Program in Cabarrus County designed to make women aware of nontraditional career pathways.
One of the most talked about programs was the Work-Life Balance Panel. Ashley Cagle, Erin Farris, and Victoria Hanson shared personal, and sometimes hilarious, stories about their struggles to balance a successful career with their personal lives. We all learned from their experiences.
Melody Warnick, author of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever Your Are, delivered a keynote address on place attachment that provided take-aways you could implement in your own city. After lunch, we built upon the place attachment theme with case studies from Asheville presented by Stephanie Monson-Dahl. Zee Worstell wrapped up the program on Thursday afternoon making a strong case why communities should invest in women entrepreneurs.
In addition to quality programming and networking, WEDN participants donated to the Dress for Success career closet, and participated in our first book exchange. The career clothing donations were the largest ever.
15 Suits 16 Dresses 7 Shirts 5 Skirts 17 Jackets 1 Pants 2 Shoes
If you’ve been on the fence about attending, listen to some participant comments from this year:
“I really enjoyed being a part of this event. It is a breath of fresh air to be in a room with women who are working for the same underlying goal. All who bring different pieces of the puzzle but who are intricate in it all coming together. Thank you!!”
“Love getting to network with an awesome group of women in ED!”
“Loved the book exchange. Loved the Dress for Success donation program. I had a great time.”
“I really loved the Work-Life Balance Panel. It made me feel better knowing that I wasn’t alone in trying to deal with my home life and work life and the guilt of just trying to do both well. Loved the Spark Sessions – Quick – Informative – To the Point!!”
Look for information this fall on WEDN 2019. The surveys are in – 100% say they want to do it again!
WEDN would not be possible without the support of our sponsors;