Women in Business host annual LEAD Conference


The Indiana University Kokomo Women in Business (WIB) club hosted their annual L.E.A.D. (Learn. Empower. Achieve. Dream) Conference on March 30.  

The event brings together students, staff, faculty, alumni, community members, and potential employers to encourage networking and positive professional inspiration and development.  

The first L.E.A.D. Conference was held in 2018 and continued to 2019 with COVID halting the years of 2020 and 2021, finally returning in 2022.  

Ginger Slisher, President of the IU Kokomo WIB, feels that the conference allows opportunity for both attendees and the members of the club. 

She feels that the planning process helps hone important skills such as “professionalism, budgeting, marketing, and event coordination” as well as teamwork.  

The day includes various Keynote speakers and presenters throughout, with this year’s conference running from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. 

The first speaker, Hannah Austin, CEO, and founder of SheShatters, LLC., spoke on team organizational burnout and how to manage it. 

Next, the conference broke into separate breakout sessions where attendees could choose from either a presentation by Meredith Katz and Andrew Mansaray over self advocation in the workplace or Penny Schroeder’s “Change Your World—Here’s Your Chance!” 

The second breakout session featured Kalena James, national motivational speaker, and business coach, who spoke on effective time management. 

The other presenter was Courtney Tritch, former politician, and marketing campaigner, who spoke on how to “Find Your Voice and Amplify It.”  

Tritch masterfully showcased the importance of being yourself and not holding back on acting on your gut feelings. She outlined numerous effective strategies for maintaining inner balance and outer confidence.  

Next, the conference held lunch in Alumni Hall as well as a fashion show sponsored by the Cougar Closet, organized by Sarah Napier, WIB Director of Recruitment.  

The models walking in the show were all IU Kokomo students wearing items from the closet, all while the WIB officers spoke on the importance of fashion sustainability.  

Next, the last Keynote speaker was Anthony Juliano, VP of Asher Agency, and founder of Point Six Four Consulting & Training. His presentation was over “Reputation, Privacy, and the Pitfalls of Social Media: How You and Your Employees Can Respond.” 

Juliano utilized audience members to illustrate the power social media holds for employers—as he narrowed down information about people he had never met in person, utilizing only their public social media accounts.  

To drive his point further, he featured examples of crises where people’s personal information on social media has either kept them from getting callbacks or violated their privacy, or both.  

Lastly, he implemented strategies and compromises for the audience to consider when building their “online branding” as future professionals.  

The conference finished out the day with networking roundtables and an opportunity for professional headshots.  

Overall, the L.E.A.D. Conference offers a day of opportunity for students at IU Kokomo, both as leaders within the WIB and as attendees of the event. 

“During the conference, students are able to learn from professionals and alumni that have been in their shoes before,” says Slisher. “I hope that they all leave inspired and with a new outlook on life that will allow them to be more successful in their schoolwork, career, or personal life.” 

Slisher added that she feels students need to attend L.E.A.D. so they can learn from the various “relatable” presenters as well as benefit from the networking opportunities the event brings to campus.  

Additionally, Slisher was excited to see the number of students help plan the event for this year, as last year there was tension due to stress put on a small amount of people within the process.  

“It was fun to have all the different skill sets and provide students with unique opportunities to develop themselves professionally and enjoy new experiences.” She said.  

Currently, the only plans for the 2024 L.E.A.D. Conference is that it is set for March 28, 2024.  

To learn more about the IU Kokomo WIB club, please visit their page on IUKLife’s website.