Entrepreneurs converge for Spirit of Women in Business Conference

Liza Mundy during her keynote speech Thursday, March 8.

Lily Nickel

Entrepreneurs and business professionals of diverse backgrounds came together to discuss what it means to be a woman in the modern workplace for the eighth annual Spirit of Women in Business Conference Thursday.

Kent State’s College of Business Administration hosts the event annually as a way to bring women together to discuss how to further their advancement in the business world and how to build each other up as women.

Undergraduate students were able to benefit from the conference as well — senior entrepreneurship major Brianna Steigerwald left the event feeling inspired and motivated.

“As an entrepreneurship major and a female business owner, it was very empowering,” Steigerwald said. “Women need to build up women, whether it’s business or personal, not tear each other down.”

Steigerwald owns her own photography business and works as a photographer for the College of Business Administration.

Participants of the conference heard from women like Liza Mundy, an award-winning reporter and author, and Sandra Volpe, the senior vice president of strategic planning, communications and contractor relations for FedEx Ground.

Volpe is this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Women in Business Award, an honor given to someone who exemplifies leadership.

Attendees were also able to participate in sessions that addressed topics like strategies for career advancement and building your own brand through social media.

Yoga instructors taught a session on the importance of mindfulness in the office, and women like Jan Focke, the senior vice president of Huntington National Bank, spoke at a panel discussing what it means to be a leading woman among men.

“We really try to offer a diverse variety of topics that leave women feeling empowered,” said Erin Nunn, the event coordinator and director of Kent State Career Services at the College of Business Administration. “It’s really important to us to have a conference program that allows for something for everyone, whether you’re entry level or a CEO.”

Nunn believes the diverse array of topics is what makes the conference successful.

“Women can leave with strategies they can take back to their organization, and either implement them through a professional development standpoint as an individual or with a team or as a manager,” Nunn said. “Being in a room with 270 women and men who are interested in learning, developing and amplifying other women’s voices is just really refreshing and re-energizing. It makes me excited to go back to work tomorrow and talk about how we can make this even better for next year.”

Lily Nickel is a business and downtown reporter. Contact her at [email protected].