WEDWisconsin 2nd Annual Leadership Summit Aims to Empower Women Leaders


November, 2018 (Madison, WI) - The second annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin (WEDWisconsin) leadership summit will be back at the Monona Terrace on Monday, November 19, 2018. The conference is expected to sell out and will draw nearly 400 attendees from across the state. The WEDWisconsin leadership summit is designed to celebrate, empower, and support women in business and tech.

Statistics show that, despite gains, women entrepreneurs face significant challenges to growing their businesses:

  • While the share of women-owned firms keeps climbing – from 28% in 2002 to 38% today – their share of employment (8%) and revenues (4%) remains essentially unchanged.

  • Between 2007 and 2016 the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses.

  • For small business loans, women receive just 16% of all loans even though 1 in 3 small businesses in the U.S. are owned by women.

  • African American and Latino women are starting businesses at the fastest rate but they are also the least likely to have funding or networks in place to become job creators.

“After nearly 30 years in business and graduating from two national programs in 2016/2017 (the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City with Harvard professors and Babson College's 10KSB program) I was well aware of the gaps and opportunities. No one else had put together a one day conference that would bring it all together - network, ideas, every age, every stage and resources. I had enough pieces in place to begin and so in the entrepreneurial spirit, I did." explained Laura Gallagher, Creative Company President and producer of WEDWisconsin.

New this year, in addition to keynote speakers, attendees will be able to tailor their conference experience to their own interests with breakout sessions featuring leaders from the private and public sector. Highlights include:

Financial educator Grace Trewartha will lead “You, Inc” highlighting simple strategies and techniques when presenting to convey the right information about what you’re actually selling - YOU. Grace has held leadership roles in finance and real estate for Fortune 500 companies including Clinique, Estee Lauder and Revlon. She graduated from Stanford University and has her MBA from Harvard Business School.

A hot topic in tech, a breakout session featuring “Blockchain/AI” will be led by Tania Dsouza who has a Masters in Innovation from Cranfield, U.K., and a Masters in Technology from Touro in New York. With experience in advertising and tech startups both nationally and globally, Tania’s unique perspective on human-centered design and design thinking has played a pivotal role for a variety of brands, ranging from Nike to 3M and Go-Pro.

Keynote speakers include:

Dr. Niraj Nijhawan, an anesthesiologist with Aurora Health Care and Founder of the Life Ecology Organization. Dr. Raj's presentation on leading yourself and others takes a deep dive into stress in the modern world, survival biology, applied neuroscience, and social, behavioral, and cognitive psychology. All of this can be applied to your life in a new way to help you solve problems and lead like never before.

Mary Burke, CEO & Founder of Building Brave and first woman in Wisconsin to run for governor, will address the importance of building agile as it leads to innovation. She'll also talk about both the barriers and opportunities for women. In this keynote address, you will learn the tools and principles for innovative thinking and why seeing your work as an experiment on the way to a solution is essential.

Bestselling author Allison Liddle will speak at WEDWisconsin while on a book tour for her new book, The Art of Imperfection Action - Daring to Begin. Allison started her first business as an entrepreneur at the age of twenty-three, then went on to found the national, award-winning financial planning firm, Prosper Wealth Management, and has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, and many other national media outlets.

Laura Gallagher, President of The Creative Company and Wisconsin's Ambassador for Women's Entrepreneurship Day. Laura's keynote presentation will be about the Power of Story and Branding.

Other featured presenters include:
Deborah Biddle, Founder - High-Performance Development Solutions LLC
Jing (Connie) Li, PE, PhD,  Founder, President & CEO - TransSmart Technologies, Inc.; President & CEO - EJM Engineering
Lorrie Heinemann, President & CEO - Madison Development Corporation
Andrea Hughes, Regional Project Director at WWBIC
Vicki Resech, Director of Operations at McDEVCO
Julie Spitzack, VP of Business Services at Summit Credit Union
Dana Hoffman, VP of Commercial lending at Summit Credit Union
Chandra Miller Fienen, Director of Operations & Program at StartingBlock Madison
Melanie Bean Galle, Founder - DirectHERy
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Founder & President - The Foundation for Black Women's Wellness
B. Marcell Williams, Founder - Jewels, Inc.
Susan Fochs, Founder - Operation Not Alone
Diane Hanson, Owner - Thinking In Sync LLC, Originator of United Madison
Kirsten Houghton, Principal - SVA
Jessica Cavazos, President & CEO - Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County
Jennifer Feyerherm, Environmental Assistance Coordinator - DNR Small Business Environmental Assistance Program
Tia Lyn, Owner - Contours Lingerie
Christine Ameigh, Owner of Slide Potato Chip Company and Food Cart

Resource booths include the Small Business Administration, the Madison Community Development Corporation, WWBIC, eWomen's Network, UW Madison School of Business, WE International, TEMPO Madison, ExactSciences, Summit Credit Union, The Creative Company as well as many others.


About  Women's Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin                 Women's Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin (WEDWisconsin) is an annual leadership summit meant to empower, celebrate, inspire, and support women in business and leadership by igniting women leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups, drive economic expansion and advance communities. More at:  WEDWisconsin.

About Laura Gallagher, USA, Midwest and Wisconsin Ambassador for WEDWisconsin
Laura Gallagher is a community, local and national business leader serving successful entrepreneurial companies and nonprofit organizations primarily in Wisconsin. In 2016, she was recognized by the Governor as a Trailblazer in Wisconsin. She is the founder and CEO of The Creative Company and is a 2017 Alumni of Babson College's 10,000 Businesses Program with a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and a 2016 graduate of Harvard Professor Michael Porter's Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. The Creative Company is certified by the State of Wisconsin as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise.

About Women's Entrepreneurship Day
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is the world’s largest entrepreneurial and financial empowerment initiative dedicated to celebrating, supporting and empowering women worldwide. WED encourages four billion women worldwide to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, with the goal of bringing hope and alleviating poverty. More at:  "When women are empowered in business, they have self-confidence and dignity and are more capable of standing up for one another’s basic human rights," Women’s Entrepreneurship Day founder Wendy Diamond says. "These types of returns are life-changing for entire communities. The more people understand the impact of empowering women in business, the more they will get involved and encourage others to do so, too."