Women Business Leaders Conference (WBLC)

CWE's annual Women Business Leaders Conference is the premier event for women in business.  Each year this event brings together women business leaders and owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, supplier diversity teams and purchasing professionals.


This Conference will feature:

  • Workshops, roundtable and panel discussions led by knowledgeable experts; topics will revolve around building and scaling your business, personal journey, and best practices in supplier diversity
  • Ample opportunities to network and connect
  • An Awards Luncheon where business leaders and community leaders will be recognized
  • Exclusive networking & procurement opportunities between WBENC-certified businesses and Corporate Supplier Diversity and procurement professionals
 2018 WBLC photos

DATE: Friday, October 4, 2019
TIME: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
LOCATION: Sheraton Hotel, Framingham, MA

Morning Keynote Speaker:

Stacy Madison, Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, Stacy’s Juicebar and now CCo-Founder of BeBOLD Bars

Afternoon Keynote Panel:

“Intersectionality and Entrepreneurship”

Betty Francisco, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Business Executive, Attorney and Community Leader
Kip Hollister, Founder & CEO, Hollister Staffing & Hollister Institute
Heather Jenkins, Chief of Staff & Equity, uAspire

Gaby King Morse, President & CEO, Center for Women & Enterprise

Mistress of Ceremonies:

Sandy Lish
The Castle Group


Get your tickets today. Online registration ends on Sunday, September 29. To purchase tickets and/or ads please make your selection below or click on this link.

Speakers & Program

We are thrilled to introduce you to this year's speakers, panelist and roundtable leaders.  Please click here to view their bios.  

Rooms and times subject to change.  For updates, please see check back here, go to the conference app or see CWE staff at the conference.

7:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Registration Open


8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Continental Breakfast
Conference Welcome 
Morning Keynote Fire Side Chat
Stacy Madison, Founder of Stacy's Pita Chips & Stacy's Juice Bar & Co-Founder of BeBOLDbars & Sandy Lish, Principal & Founder of The Castle Group 

Grand Ballroom Upper Level

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Networking Break

Grand Ballroom
Upper Level

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Session I:  Concurrent Workshops & Sessions

Panel: “Keeping it Real - Inspiring Stories from Women Business Leaders”
No matter where you are in your business life, it is always helpful to have someone to share ideas, hear about their journey and life-learnings. Join us for a stimulating conversation with three women leaders who will share their stories and experiences with you. You will walk away from this session feeling refreshed and inspired, and ready to tackle the next stage of your life, business and/or career.

Susan Duffy, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, Babson (Moderator)

Linda Rossetti, Advisor, The Transition Institute LLC

Stephanie Thompson, Founder, Warrior Runner

Lower Level

The Heart of a Brand”
Donna Latson Gittens, Founder & CEO, MORE Advertising

What’s your brand? First and foremost, it isn’t what you think it is; your brand is what your customer thinks. It actually goes deeper; it’s really what your customer feels about your brand! With decades of brand-building experience, Donna Latson Gittens understands the role of emotions in brand equity. See how other brands have been cultivated. Learn the critical elements of a brand. And then, build your own.  Get to the heart of your brand!

Lower Level

Roundtable Discussions:  *LIMITED SEATING, Pre-Registration on Conference App REQUIRED
Learn directly from the experts and each other! Select a roundtable to speak with a resource provider or seasoned business leader who can provide direct support to help you launch and grow your business.

Roundtable Leaders:
Catherine White, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
Topic: Angel Investing

Susan-Anne Terzakis, Business Advisor, Terzakis & Associates
Topic: Business Planning & Establishing a foundation for a new business

Louise (Lou) Pordage, Director, KPMG
Topic: Cybersecurity & Systems Integration

Angela Miele, Chief Credit Officer, MGCC
Topic: Financing & Technical Assistance resources for businesses

Beth Milkovits, Relationship Manager, Brown Brothers Harriman
Topic: Women & Wealth

Lower Level

WBENC Corporate Speed Fair (WBENC-Certified Businesses Only)

Grand Ballroom- NORTH
Upper Level

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Session II: Concurrent Workshops & Sessions

Panel: “Creating a Diverse & Inclusive (D&I) Workplace” Research has shown that organizations that are diverse and inclusive are more productive and have higher levels of engaged employees.  Creating and sustaining inclusive work environments requires deliberate and intentional actions.  An integrated, strategic approach is necessary to establish inclusive organizations and to position organizations for long-term success in an increasingly diverse world. 

This session will cover key success factors for creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive culture.  The panelists will discuss best practices and share strategies based on their areas of expertise.  Participants will leave the session with a framework for creating a diverse and inclusive culture. They will learn about strategies and resources for attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce.

Juliette Mayers, Author,  Speaker, & CEO, Inspiration Zone LLC (Moderator)

Tracy Pitcher, Senior VP, Greater Boston Region, Comcast

Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham, Founder, Promoting Good LLC

Diana Ubiñas, Program Manager, Business Equity Initiative

Lower Level

"Winning the Long Game: Find Time to Work On Your Business (as well as in it)”
Susan Loconto Penta, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, MIDIOR Consulting

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we are often driven by whatever speaks the loudest or seems most urgent.  Cash, resources, revenue, relationships – the crisis du jour typically governs our days. And yet, the recipe for long term success depends on being proactive as much as reactive together with rapid, well-informed decision making – all without burning out. Winning the long game depends on incorporating a healthy mix of long-term planning and strategic thinking as well as short term tasks and activities in our all too packed schedules. In this session, participants will:

  • Hear about one entrepreneur’s journey to finding the time, space and mental bandwidth to work on her business as well as in it
  • Explore tools and techniques – both high and low tech – to help you balance the strategic with the tactical
  • Have an opportunity to explore some of the strategies discussed with other session participants
  • Whether you are new to your business or a long-time entrepreneur, this session will be sure to get you thinking about how to balance the “urgent” with the “important” in order to stay in it for the long haul.

Lower Level

Roundtable Discussions *LIMITED SEATING, Pre-Registration on Conference App REQUIRED
Learn directly from the experts and each other! Select a roundtable to speak with a resource provider or seasoned business leader who can provide direct support to help you launch and grow your business.

Roundtable Leaders:
Jill Griffin, Director of Workforce, Supplier and Diversity Development, Massachusetts Gaming Commission
Topic: Doing business with the Mass gaming commission 

Sarah Travers, CEO, Workbar
Topic: Experience as CEO/Flexible workplace solutions

Jackie Shoback, CEO, Emerging Businesses & Client Experience, Boston Private
Topic: Growth strategies for business

Natalia Urtubey, Director of Small Business, City of Boston
Topic: Small business resources through the city of Boston

Lower Level

WBENC Corporate Speed Fair (WBENC-Certified Businesses Only)

Grand Ballroom- NORTH
Upper Level

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch & Leadership Awards

Grand Ballroom
Upper Level

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Afternoon Keynote Panel: Intersectionality and Entrepreneurship
Intersectionality and Entrepreneurship: Women entrepreneurs are not one homogenous group. Their experiences, perspectives and trajectories vary based on their identities. As we strive to better support all women entrepreneurs, we need to address the complex and ever-present phenomena of “Intersectionality.” Join us for a provocative and educational panel that will explore the different experiences of women founders - paying close attention, not only to their gender, but also the ways in which their gender intersect with their ethnicity socio-economic background, and other identities. 

aby King Morse, CEO & President, Center for Women & Enterprise (Moderator)

Betty Francisco, General Counsel, Compass Working Capital

Kip Hollister, Founder & CEO, Hollister Staffing

Heather Jenkins, Chief of Staff & Equity, uAspire

Grand Ballroom
Upper Level

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Session III:  Concurrent Workshops & Speakers Sessions

"Women, Business, Life, Money, and the Seven Laws of Enough”
Jennifer Cohen, Co-Founder, Seven Stones Leadership
Gina LaRoche, Co-Founder, Seven Stones Leadership

So many of us feel there is not enough time, never enough resources, and that is hard to stay on top of it all. We invite you to break free from this trap of “not enough,” as we focus on the stories we tell ourselves about money.  Learn why your money story matters and that you have the power to change it. You can create a story that empowers, supports and nourishes you to create great things without constantly grasping for more.  Join us to discover what it means to shift to a mindset of “Sustainable Abundance.” Learn how to build your business and your life to be both sustainable, abundant, and in balance with one another.

Lower Level

“There are two sides to every story - both are right”
Liveda Clements Johnson, Founder & CEO, Diversifier

During this highly engaging closing session, attendees will discuss the weightiest challenges they have faced as they aim to establish and grow relationships with large enterprises. Liveda will facilitate the discussion, drawing upon her experience as a supplier diversity professional to help attendees better organize and mobilize their efforts by seeing the world as our customers do. Together, the group will build a short list of strategies for managing the single greatest challenge. The session’s interactive design will also help participants cement connections made throughout the day.

Commons 1
Upper Level

“Self-care strategies: getting stuff done without coming undone”
Katie McDonald, Founder & CEO, bnourished

We want to be at our best. Who doesn’t?

However, our self-care does not often align with our ambitions. We have big goals and the guts to make them happen, but maybe not the energy, the boundaries, the mental clarity or the health to sustain them. Showing up for ourselves with the same dedication we show for our work and others can close the gap between aspirations and reality.

Productivity rises.
Mood shifts.
Relationships strengthen.
Confidence soars.
Minds clear.
Health returns.

We get better results when we do the very things that cascade to the bottom of the to-do list at the slightest sniff of busyness. Exercise, prayer and meditation, healthy food, tending to relationships, often feel like distractions when they are in fact the foundation upon which our success rests.

Lower Level

“Authenticity and the Growing Importance of Leading by Influence”
Kate Ferrara, Financial and Risk Advisory, Deloitte

The link between authenticity and effective leadership is only growing stronger as technology changes the nature of work and flattens organizational structures. One key byproduct is that leaders will have to lead more by influence versus executive fiat (authority). To be an influential leader in the digital age, leaders will have to not only increase their understanding of technology, but also maximize the human attributes of empathy, authenticity and transparency. These are the attributes that move people and help them to follow or discover a direction. People won’t be moved by leaders who are fake or who can’t relate to different types of workers and different types of situations. Command and control is giving away to communicate and counsel.

Lower Level

Rooms and times subject to change.  For updates, please see check back here, go to the conference app or see CWE staff at the conference. 

Sponsorship, Advertisement Opportunities and Donations

Interested in gaining visibility for your company while helping CWE help women and veterans.  Become a sponsors, purchase an ad and/or donate to a great cause.  Your company logo/name will be included in the conference promotional material sent to over 39,000 subscribers including our clients, Corporate Members, supporters, business leaders and much more.  Click here for our sponsorship menu and view our advertisement opportunities below, or contact Melinda Leon, MLeon@CWEonline.org or Michelle Miller, MMiller@CWEonline.org about how to leverage this opportunity for your business!

Conference App

Introducing the Cadence Event App where you will find all you need to know about this year's CWE Women Business Leaders Conference (wblc).

If you have not already, download the app for your mobile or tablet device prior to the event on October 4.

Download for iPhone/iPad

Android Device

You can also view the event on your desktop device at http://my.eventcadence.com/events/wblc

Get the most from CWE Women Business Leaders Conference 2019 Cadence

  • Receive important updates from the organizers of the WBLC
  • Access your event schedule and reminders
  • Reserve your seat for RoundTable Discussion sessions (10 seats available for each)
  • Capture the best moments on the Live Feed
  • See who is coming and connect with other attendees

If you have any questions about the app please contact Samantha Pevear, SPevear@CWEonline.org or call 508-453-9209.


For more information about sponsorships, tickets and general conference inquiries please contact Melinda Leon, MLeon@CWEonline.org.