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Women's Initiative Regional Summit Presented by PNC Bank Inspires Attendees to Emerge into an Empowered Future


On Wednesday, Oct. 20, regional businesswomen gathered together for the 2021 Women’s Initiative Regional Summit, sponsored by PNC.

Taking place in the Schiff Conference Center at Xavier University, the Regional Summit, themed, “Emerging into an Empowered Future,” brought together professional women from across the Tri-State to share and discuss real-life leadership experiences. The event addressed ways attendees can care for themselves and their professional teams while simultaneously driving business results. 

The morning began with a dynamic presentation from Kendra Ramirez, CEO of Kendra Ramirez Digital Agency titled “From Tired to Inspired.” Ramirez hosted a conversation that uncovered why it’s crucial to prioritize yourself, slow down, unwind and why these are all important components for success. During the session, she equipped attendees with methods to help tame their inner critic and regain their strength during times of turbulence. Her concluding message for women struggling in their professional or personal lives, “You are not alone.”  

Between sessions, attendees had the opportunity to network and connect with fellow female professionals. After the morning general session, Bonita Brown, Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer of Northern Kentucky University, took to the stage to share her experiences, challenges and opportunities as a minority member in the workplace. Participants were given ways to leverage and utilize diversity in the workplace and key leadership strategies. “Empowering yourself, empowers others,” she said. 

Next, Crystal Faulkner, Partner and Certified EOS Implementer of MCM CPAs & Advisors, took the stage to share personal stories of how incorporating strategies like vulnerability-based trust and speaking with real candor have led to extraordinary results in organizations she works with – including her own. She explained the key concepts of EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a system that helps companies build a common vision and a cohesive, team-oriented environment. Faulkner’s session provided attendees with practical tools to drive successful business results and reminded women that finding a healthy work/life balance is crucial for one’s overall happiness. 

Over lunch, Regional Summit Committee Chair, Holly Mazzocca led a panel discussion with Nancy Grayson, President of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, Alecia Webb-Edgington, President of Life Learning Center and Gail Manley, Diversity & Inclusion Leader of Fidelity Investments. The discussion focused on lifting others up as you lead with panelists tackling topics like imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern that involves feelings of self-doubt despite education, experience or an individual’s accomplishments. While all the panelists agreed that humans feel imposter syndrome, they noted that it was also up to us to counter these feelings of doubt by creating new behaviors to overcome them. The panelists encouraged attendees to find mentors, come to meetings overprepared and learn from mistakes. Grayson concluded the panel with a thought-provoking comment, “Don’t accept critique from someone you wouldn’t accept advice from.” 

Following the panel, Ashley Glass, Owner of Black Women Cultivating Change spoke about empowering women to look within themselves to stop self-sabotaging. She guided attendees through a thoughtful self-reflection activity focused on mental health and combating imposter syndrome. Participants were asked seven questions to acknowledge how they’ve navigated self-limiting behaviors and used various tactics to create the best version of themselves. At the end of the session, volunteers shared and discussed their answers with the group. 

Emily Kendall, Founder & CEO of Industrious Marketing, delivered a powerful presentation titled, “The Panini Press: Supporting the Sandwich Generation.” Throughout the session she explained how she navigated complicated pregnancies, children with special needs and aging parents all while balancing a career and facing working-parent challenges in the workplace. Kendall is currently compiling a Sandwich Generation support guide that will be available for NKY Chamber members. 

The third and final session focused on a common theme of understanding. Cassidy Lekan, Vice President of Transitions, shared how trauma-informed leadership and authenticity can have a positive impact on workforce development. During her session, Lekan taught audience members about the basic principles of a trauma-informed care organization, how to lead employees through a trauma-informed lens and how to sustain as a passionate and energetic leader. 

The final speaker of the day, Claire Parsons, Member/Meditation Teacher and Attorney at Adams Law, showed how the very adjectives that tend to hold women back from advancing in the workplace are the traits that all good leaders need to possess. Parsons led attendees through a guided loving-kindness meditation to showcase the importance of self-compassion during stressful circumstances and to provide extra inner support. Parsons’ session left attendees inspired and reenergized by the power of compassion and the strength to cultivate and use it in their own lives and work to take care of themselves, lead their teams, take necessary risks and get results.  

The NKY Chamber Women’s Initiative, sponsored by PNC, is the leading organization for women of all career stages working toward business and professional success. It was created to inspire area businesswomen in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati to connect, grow and achieve. Individuals interested in learning more about the Women’s Initiative can contact Gina Bath, Vice President of the Women's Initiative at or visit Want to get involved? Click here


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