14th Annual Women's Professional Develoment Conference
03.24.2009 —April 30 event to feature comedian Anita Renfroe and neuroanatomist and stroke survivor Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.
LONGMEADOW, Mass.—A women’s basketball head coach who has catapulted three sports programs from anonymity to national prominence; a neuroanatomist who survived a stroke and gained insights into the workings of her brain; and a former stay-at-home mom, who has made a career by making others laugh, will all be featured speakers at Soaring, the 14th Annual Women’s Professional Development Conference on Thursday, April 30, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.
All of this year’s speakers have risen above expectations, and have soared on their respective paths to success. Rutgers University women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, and comedian Anita Renfroe will share their inspiring stories at this full-day event. The WPDC is expected to draw close to 1,000 women and will include breakout sessions on saying “no” without feeling guilty, negotiation skills, financial planning, and turning dreams into reality.
“If ever there were a time to think positively and to be grateful for what we have, it is now,” said Bay Path College President Carol A. Leary. “Our theme, Soaring, sums it up in one word! The speakers we selected will surely inspire all of us with their poignant stories of challenge and adversity converted into opportunity. This is a conference you won’t want to miss!”
Rising above the rim to face life’s challenges, C. Vivian Stringer has kept her head high and never searched for excuses. Most recently, Stringer and her women’s basketball team at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, which she led to the 2007 Final Four, faced controversy surrounding racist and sexist remarks about the team by a radio talk show host. Given Stringer’s track record, it was no surprise that she led her team to respond to Don Imus with dignity and courage.
While her success on the court increased during her 37-year career, Stringer’s personal life has been one of trial and perseverance. Throughout her life, she has displayed the poise and grace for which she is admired equally on and off the court. A superb model of what one woman can accomplish with courage and a strong will, Stringer is the author of Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph. She will share her story of determination during this year’s WPDC.
Growing up with a brother diagnosed with schizophrenia, Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, focused her scientific career on schizophrenia and severe mental illness. However, her life and her research took an unexpected turn in 1996 when she experienced a rare form of stroke. During her recovery, she faced a new set of challenges. She could no longer walk, talk, read, write, or recall life events. Over the course of eight years, she has rebuilt her brain from the inside out. Her incredible journey became the focus of The New York Times best-selling memoir, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey. In May 2008, Dr. Taylor was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, and she was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show as well as a premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey's Soul Series Web cast.
From a stay-at-home mom to a YouTube favorite, Anita Renfroe has made a name for herself by making others laugh. Best known for the song Momsense sung to the tune of the William Tell Overture, Renfroe has a unique brand of musical comedy combined with a blend of sass, edge, and slightly offbeat takes on all things female. In a decade, she has seen great success and her talent has been embraced by national media. She recently released her DVD It’s Probably Just My Thyroid, which featured her parody of Carrie Underwood’s #1 hit “Before He Cheats,” retitled “Before I Eat.” Currently, she is working on an ABC sitcom pilot, which will hopefully be picked up for the fall television line-up.
The Conference is also providing attendees an opportunity to help others soar during its Call to Action. Showcased nonprofit organizations will present specific time-based needs. Attendees will have an opportunity to investigate a cause they are passionate about, and will be encouraged to contribute their most valuable asset—their time.
For further information and to register, visit the WPDC web site; call 413.565.1293, or toll free at 1.800.782.7284, ext. 1293; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.