First Ever Athens Area Women’s Summit Oct. 27

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Friday, Oct. 27 marks the very first Athens Area Women’s Summit, presented and organized by the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event aims to provide those in the Athens area (and particularly those who identify as women,) with resources to bulk up their leadership potential, inspire them to succeed, and expose possibilities for professional development.

Michelle Oestrike, president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the concept of putting on a conference for women in the area was planted last year, when she was new to her role within the chamber. She had just returned from a chamber of commerce executive development conference, and two of her colleagues within the chamber had just experienced a women in banking conference. With the concept of adding value to a chamber membership in mind, the group started to plan a women’s conference for those in Athens area for 2017.

The conference, which takes place at the OU Inn, features morning keynote speaker author Nicole J. Phillips (Kindness is Contagious,) and afternoon keynote speaker Beatrice Selotlegeng (director of the Ohio University College of Business’ Junior Executive Business Program). Additonal speakers include Cheryl Herbert, senior vice president of Regional Operations at OhioHealth; Jennifer Murphy, assistant dean of career management and student success at Ohio University’s College of Business; Geneva Murray, director of Ohio University’s Women’s Center; George Paidas, Founder of Embros, a strategic planning, coaching, and leadership consulting firm; and Tammy Reynolds, executive-in-residence at the Ohio University College of Business.

“When we first started planning the conference, we had in mind a few topics that we wanted speakers to cover, although obviously you can’t tell a speaker what to present on,” said Oestrike. “We wanted to talk about negotiation in the workplace, navigating generational differences, and throwing down a rope – women helping other women.”

Each of those topics are covered by speakers taking part in the summit.

“The conference isn’t just open to women, although a lot of the topics are especially important to women,” said Oestrike. “All of the topics, honestly, could be applicable to anyone.”

Oestrike said that this event is her first as president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce as an attempt to provide an educational outlet for the community, as well as make chamber rof commerce membership worthwhile to local businesspeople.