Women's Leadership Conference April 29

The Southwest Minnesota State University Foundation Women’s Leadership Conference will be held on Friday, April 29 in the Conference Center Ballroom on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.
The conference will be available in both in-person and virtual formats, said Stacy Frost, Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Outreach. “Last year’s conference was entirely virtual and we had participants from all over the country as a result,” said Frost. “We are happy to return to an in-person event, with a virtual option. That will allow for personal interaction, and allow those from far away to participate, as well.”
The conference theme is “Flourish, Grow, Lead.” This year’s keynote speaker is Jo Saxton, an author, speaker, podcaster, and entrepreneurial coach. Born to Nigerian immigrants and raised in London, she brings a multicultural and international perspective to her teachings. Saxton finds her passion while helping empower women to connect with their community.
Her keynote address is “Ready to Rise?” It centers on the recent turbulence, upheaval and uncertainty for the entire world, an environment that has impacted woman, their professional progress and leadership in distinct ways. Her book, Ready to Rise: Own your voice, Gather your community, Step into your influence, tackles the real life issues women face.
Participants will have the opportunity to choose one of a trio of presentations during the morning and afternoon focus sessions. Presenters include:
• Charli Gamber is an author and owner of her own benefits agency, Benefits With Heart. Her agency works to find the perfect solutions to employee benefits. She is a 2008 alumna and later earned a Master’s of Human Resources degree from Southern New Hampshire. Her presentation is “Building Resilience and Preventing Burnout.”
• Karla Munkel earned her undergraduate degree in 2004 and her MBA in 2009 from SMSU and is Senior Manager, Audit & Risk, for Schwan’s Company. She will share her personal story of one of the ‘curveballs’ life threw at her, and how you can not only survive these curveballs, but thrive through them. She will share how to leverage life’s lessons to become wise, strong, and create your legacy.
• Jo Saxton, the day’s keynote speaker, will lead one of the focus sessions, as well. Her presentation is entitled “Getting Your Place at the Table: Collaboration, Collusion, or ‘Catfight’?”
The lunch speaker is Rana DeBoer, Chief Impact Officer for Keystone Group International. Her talk will be “You Are the CEO of You.” The CEO, in this case, is an acronym for Chief Energy Officer. She feels no skill is more important for today’s leaders than the ability to generate and mobilize the energy of oneself and that of others.
A networking breakfast kicks off the event at 7:30 a.m., allowing students and professionals to meet and mingle. The welcomes begin at 8:30 a.m., and Saxton’s keynote is at 9 a.m.
All four speakers will combine for a panel session in the afternoon, as well. Alumna Tina Cartwright will facilitate the panel in order for all attendees to hear from all speakers.
The Women’s Leadership Conference raises scholarship money for SMSU students. This year’s recipient of that scholarship, for the second straight year, is senior Amberlynn Morgan, a Culinology major. “The scholarship allows me to invest all of my energy into my education,” she said. “I will also have the opportunity to invest more time in extracurricular opportunities, which help me to gain leadership and teamwork skills that I can leverage in my future career.”
To register and learn more about the conference, go to: https://www.smsufoundation.org/events/annual/womensleadershipconference/.... You can also contact the Foundation at: Foundation@SMSU.edu or call (507) 537-6266. SMSU students may attend the conference for free, other students may attend the day for $25, all other registrations, in-person and virtual are $150.

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