Hundreds attend the 2nd Annual Inspiring Women Leaders Conference

Published: Mar. 8, 2019 at 6:44 PM EST
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March 8 is International Women's Day and women from across the world attended the 2nd annual Inspiring Women Leaders Conference in Gainesville at the UF Hilton Conference Center.

About 250 women attended this year's conference and they were excited to share this special day with other leaders.

“I could feel the energy and the vibrancy of all the women around,” conference speaker Elizabeth Goueti said.

The conference brought women from Canada, the West Indies, and Italy.

Conference organizer Laurel Brown who is also an Assistant Director for UF’s Professional & Workforce Development said this conference is a great way for women to network and build relationships.

“It's that opportunity for us to unify, to really find ways to connect with one another and to make changes both locally and globally,” Brown said.

Goueti is an attorney at Pearson Education and during her workshop, she discussed the importance of negotiation to improve your personal and professional life.

“We impact so many people's lives, we are mothers, we are daughters, we are wives, we are colleagues, we are co-workers,” Goueti said. “International Women's Day is an opportunity for us to come together to recognize our strengths, to leverage that strength and to make sure we are speaking up and speaking up regularly."

Conference speaker Naz Erenguc who is also the President of the Association of Academic Women and a representative from the Warrington College Of Business held a workshop where she explained breaking through the “glass ceiling" by using dialogue, networking, and mentoring.

Erenguc enjoyed meeting other women who are leaders in their community.

“You leave here thinking I know that I can make an impact but more so I know we can make an impact,” Erenguc said.

UF Interprofessional Education Assistant Director & Lecturer Caronne Rush attended the conference for the second time and she loved how fitting it was to celebrate International Women's Day with other women at the conference.

“It highlights who we are so the people realize that women are rocking it and that we are the bosses of our own reality,” Rush said.

‘She Leads With' was this year's theme for the conference to highlight what each women's strengths are and during the conference, 13 women were honored for their local contributions.

“I saw a need in the community and the need for women to just have that opportunity to get together,” Brown said. “To be able to find ways to connect and especially to be able to learn and to enhance themselves professionally and personally.”

Brown wants next year's conference to have more men involved.

“We want men to be involved in this and be able to come and sit at the table with us so we can help talk about gender inequality in the workforce,” Brown said.

Contact Laurel Brown for more information on how you can be a speaker at next year’s conference at