WREN Annual Summit

When: April 9-10, 2018
Where: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center & USC Alumni Center

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The 2018 WREN Summit will focus on Women’s Economic Empowerment and will include diverse business owners and leaders, professionals of all levels, researchers, students, advocates, and more. Participants will have an opportunity to learn, develop new skills, and network with peers.

Day 1 will focus on speakers, panels and workshops examining the theme of women’s economic empowerment. On day 2, WREN will host a gubernatorial forum where candidates will speak on economic issues that face women and families in South Carolina.

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Event Agenda

Monday, April 9

9:00 AM

Summit Welcome

Ann Warner, CEO, WREN

9:15 AM

Morning Speaker

Dr. Nika White, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist
Sara Fawcett and Lauren Wilkie, Women in Philanthropy

10:30 AM

Morning Breakout Sessions sponsored by Women in Philanthropy

Encouraging Women's Entrepreneurialism
Moderator: Hadia Ghandour
Panelists: Tanya Rodriguez Hodges, Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, Katherine Swartz Hilton, Roshanda E. Pratt
When Women Lead
Moderator: Nikki Hardin
Panelists: Melissa Watson, Laura Varn, Georgette Council, Susie Shannon
Creating a Safe and Inclusive Workplace
Panelists: Kimberly Tissot, Sebrina Isom, Janet E. Rhode, Sarah Gammage, Lindsay Hawkins
Promising Solutions For A Low Wage Workforce
Moderator: Dr. Katrina Spigner
Panelists: Dee Albritton, Kristi King-Brock, Laneika Musalini, Lauren Wilkie, Tiffany James
Rooting In and Rising Up: Women in Agriculture
Moderator: Sara Clow
Panelists: Ariel Brooks, Bonita Diane Clemons, Germain Jenkins ,Brinton Fox



During our lunch, we will be welcoming guest speaker Justice Kaye Hearne and have a free headshot station available for use with photographer Steffi Brink of Indie Grits Labs.

1:45 PM

Plenary Panel: Closing the Wealth Gap

Moderator: Cheryl Holland
Panelists: Martha Menard, Dominik Mjarton, Ellcentrell Phillips, Stephanie Vokral

3:15 PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Starting Smart: Developing Your Salary Negotiation Skills
Facilitators: Dr. Heather Brandt, Lauren Brown, MelissaAnne Cunningham Sereque
Speaking Your Greatness
Facilitators: LB Adams
Transforming Rape Culture
Facilitators: Kayce Singletary, Valerie Eukue
Innovative Strategies for Working Mothers
Facilitators: Georgina Dukes, Marie Shiflet, Katie Bogan
Advocating and Organizing for Women's Rights
Facilitators: Mika Gadsden, Ashley Lidow, Terence Lilly Little Water, Tammaka Staley, Fareeha Qazi, Lyric Thompson

5:00 PM

Reception and Networking

Please enjoy an evening networking reception featuring opening remarks by Maria Puckett.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018


Gubernatorial Forum

Attending Candidates
Phil Noble
James Smith
Catherine Templeton
Marguerite Willis
View Full Agenda

Event Speakers

Justice Kaye G. Hearn

SC Supreme Court

Nika White
Diversity Strategist

Martha Menard

Katherine Swartz-Hilton
McNair Center for Entrepreneurism and Community Engagement

Tamika Gadsden
South Carolina Chapter of Women’s March on Washington

Need a place to stay?

These hotels are located in downtown Columbia and within walking distance to the conference.


Get an in-depth look into the barriers, benefits, and challenges that women face when entering and advancing in the workforce in South Carolina.

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Check Out Highlights From Last Year!

View All Photos on Facebook

Thank you to our generous sponsors!