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Accomplished female business leaders headline Penn State Smeal’s Powerful Women conference

March 29, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Registration is under way for the 2021 Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference, scheduled to be held virtually on April 15-16. 

The event, which is hosted by the Penn State Smeal College of Business and its student-run Women in Business organization, will commemorate its 12th year with five accomplished speakers, valuable networking opportunities and engaging breakout sessions. 

The conference aims to unite successful women in the Penn State community and celebrate their contributions to all aspects of the business world. Alumni, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to learn more about this impactful event and submit registration materials by 11:59 p.m. April 11. 

The registration fee for non-students is $50 and $20 for students. The fee includes registration, a Vera Bradley bag, T-shirt and other company giveaways. Registration will be capped at the first 300 participants. 

Lori Lee, CEO of AT&T Latin America and global marketing officer, will be the keynote speaker from 7-8 p.m. on April 15. 

Tara Schuster, the former vice president of talent and development at Comedy Central, a best-selling author and accomplished entertainment executive, will deliver the morning keynote address from 8:45-9:45 a.m. April 16. 

This year’s afternoon keynote speaker will be Mary Beth Trypus, who will speak from 1-2 p.m. April 16. Trypus, who graduated from Smeal in 1987 with a degree in marketing, is the chief revenue officer at Vera Bradley. 

The final speakers of the conference will be Michelle Homoky, sales director, and Lisa Richardson, senior manager of leadership coaching and development, of Celebrity Cruises. Their interactive presentation, scheduled for 3:05-4:05 p.m., is titled “Be the Hero of Your Own Story.” 

Full biographies of each of the keynote speakers can be found online. 

Attendees also have the opportunity to select one of three morning and three afternoon breakout sessions to attend. 

The morning breakout sessions, from 9:55 to 10:40 a.m., include:

  • ABC’s of Gen X,Y,Z: learning to harness the strengths of each of the five generations in today’s workforce.
  • Stretched Too Thin: this session teaches attendees about prioritization, finding your balance and learning to implement self-care into your routine.
  • Your Footprint: how you can make small changes in your business to become more sustainable.

 From 10:50 to 11:50 a.m., a PWPW Talks session, titled “Sorry Not Sorry,” will focus on the differences between men and women in applying for jobs and how much each group apologizes. 

The afternoon breakout sessions, from 2:10-2:55 p.m., include:

  • Dimensions of Our Differences: focuses on diversity in the workforce and learning how to understand and respect differences.
  • Your Life Well Spent: learn how to create your own budget, tips for managing a credit card, investing, and handling student loans.
  • Working Virtual: The New Norm: explores the many facets of working remotely that the COVID pandemic forced on many people.
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Andy Elder
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