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FairfaxBusinessWomen's Center leadership conference back as in-person event

Women’s Center leadership conference back as in-person event

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It’s been three years since The Women’s Center held its annual leadership conference in person, but its leaders will resume the organization’s tradition in a few weeks.

The center plans to hold its annual leadership conference April 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the McLean Hilton Tysons Corner.

This year’s conference theme will be “Caring, Courageous, Inclusive” – traits that leaders need to have following pandemic upheavals, said Rachna Krishnan, the center’s president and CEO.

“The last two years have been incredibly challenging for people [with working] from home, remote learning for our children, mental-health concerns and even financial hardship,” she said. “As leaders, we need to accommodate and pivot to fit the needs of our staff and the current workforce.”


Speakers at this year’s event will include:

• Emma Sharma, founder and principal of Swallowtail Group. A global business executive, Sharma also has served on Valiant Integrated Services’ executive team and with senior management at Motorola, Business Objects and Capgemini.

• Janine Driver, a New York Times best-selling author and body-language contributor on NBC’s “Today Show.” She also is founder and president of the Body Language Institute.

• Kwasi Mitchell, chief purpose officer at Deloitte. His duties at the company include driving its strategies on diversity, equity and inclusion; sustainability and climate change; and education and workforce development.

• Misti Burmeister, an executive coach, best-selling author and expert in leadership communication.

• Dr. Rina Bansal, who in 2016 became chief medical officer at Inova Alexandria Hospital and in May 2019 was named its president.

• Suzie Bartel, co-founder of the Ryan Bartel Foundation. The foundation, named after her son who committed suicide in 2014, offers programs that foster resilience and help youth cope with daily life stress.

• Traci DeShazor, a former deputy secretary of the commonwealth for the Virginia state government.

Breakout sessions during this year’s conference will touch on finances, work-from-home burnout, career advancement, mindfulness and presentation skills.

There also will be vendors such as Vivid Chill, Silk Scarves Impressions, Splurge Boutique, LipSense and Bards Alley Bookshop, plus exhibitors including Mather LifeWays, Colin Family Mediation Group LLC, Holzman Laser Vision and Reframe Wealth Management.

The Women’s Center had to scrap its conference in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic hit, and went with a “virtual” format that year and again in 2021.

“There is so much desire to connect, network and to be with others,” Krishnan said. “The energy is amazing. After two years of being isolated and remote, we are excited to bring this opportunity for people to be in the same place together.”

Tickets cost $225 and will become available March 9. The event will be in-person only; no recording will be available for viewing afterward, Krishnan said. Attendees must provide proof of COVID vaccination and will be encouraged to wear masks.

For more information, visit thewomenscenter.org.

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