Several years ago an attendee of the Bryant University Women’s Summit called long-time director Kati Machtley and related how the day of education and networking aimed at empowering female professionals had reaped her benefits.
Simply having that set time to listen and then think about how she could better organize her life had helped the woman make one simple change – switching child care providers – that allowed her a shorter commute, more time with her young family and a less- stressed workday.
“She was able to streamline her day so that everything worked out better,” Machtley said. “I [always] hope [attendees] will be able to become empowered professionally and personally.”
Machtley has been helming the summit for all of its 16 years and has seen it grow from an unanticipated success to a conference that this year sold all of its 1,000 seats within 32 hours. The draw at this year’s summit, taking place March 14, likely is the keynote-speaker list that spotlights Arianna Huffington, president and editor of The Huffington Post Media Group, including the news and blog site The Huffington Post; Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network and the first woman network president in television and Marshawn Evans, a reinvention strategist who competed on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.
Keynotes were invited to embrace the summit’s yearly changing theme, which this time is ‘Aspire, Achieve, Advance,’ and are, Machtley said, meant to appeal to the wide variety of women who attend the summit.
“The women’s summit attracts people from all walks of life and all ages, from college students, to beginning professionals, to middle-management individuals who are in corporate and nonprofit settings, to CEOs and women re-entering the workforce or thinking about changing careers,” Machtley said. “There also are some beginning entrepreneurs who want to grow their business. They all come together that day.”
Machtley said attendees are likely to gain thoughts on personal empowerment from the keynotes, which are one-third, along with providing professional-development education and a comfortable setting where attendees can make new connections, of what the summit organizers hope to give women.