Summit Leaders Hope to Inspire, Support Women

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Organizers of a March 21 event say they are aiming to inspire future women leaders in the Mahoning Valley by highlighting existing women in leadership positions here.

The Women’s LeadHERship Summit, scheduled for 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Eastwood Event Centre in Niles, will feature a keynote speech by Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Carla Baldwin, a panel discussion, dinner and women-owned business vendors. Check in and networking will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The event is being presented by organizations and businesses including Valley Partners; Youngstown Business Incubator; Western Reserve Port Authority; Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; HD Growth Partners; Platt Insurance; Sherman Creative; Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley as well as its Fund for Women & Girls; United Returning Citizens; and Ohio Department of Development.  

“The goal is to empower, inspire, motivate and provide all the resources we can to the women in the Valley,” said Matthew Longmire, business resource manager at Valley Partners.

“There are a lot of women driving a lot of things that are happening, whether it’s behind the scenes or in a leadership role, and this event is a great way to make them shine,” said Teresa Miller, Valley Partners’ executive director and one of five women on the event’s panel. Her contemporaries in local leadership positions mostly are men, though each have good women working with them, she points out.

Other participants in the panel, which will be moderated by Alisha Alls, a member of the Warren Board of Education, will include Stephanie Gilchrist, Youngstown economic development director; Dr. Angela Natoli of the Chiropractic and Functional Neurology Centre; Honeya Price, Warren city councilwoman; and Sarah Wilschek, executive director of Congregation Ohev Beth Sholom.

Miller acknowledged that her field, economic development, remains largely dominated by men, though there are “a lot of good women stepping up.” She also noted that women entrepreneurs, when they seek financing for their ventures, nine times out of 10 are working with a male banker and sometimes face “resistance from the fact that you’re a stay-at-home mom and want to turn your hobby into a business” and aren’t taken seriously.

“We’ve worked with a lot of women, hopefully helping them build their loan package or their business plan up to a better place where it will not matter whether they’re male or female,” she said.

Individual reservations for the event are free, and attendees are asked to RSVP HERE by Thursday. Table sponsorships are available for $10 and include guaranteed group seating for eight, preferred seating location and name/logo in the event brochure.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.