WESTVILLE, Ind. – The Leadership Institute and Society of Innovators at Purdue University Northwest (PNW) have announced the 2023 Northwest Indiana Women’s Leadership and Innovation Summit.

The annual event brings 260 diverse women leaders together for inspiring presentations and panel-style conversations, with a focus on authentic leadership, innovation knowledge, the power of networking and personal empowerment.

The summit is especially suited to mid-level managers, star contributors and high potential employees who have been identified as outstanding prospects for increased leadership responsibilities, professionals with an interest in personal development and executives seeking to become a more innovative leader.

“Leadership is highly valued for both business and personal success, and strong leadership skills are important now more than ever,” said Sheila Matias, executive director of the Leadership Institute at PNW. “Today’s ever-changing landscape also relies heavily on innovation. The summit will encourage attendees to rethink their commitment to innovation and help them blend their leadership with innovation to foster robust and agile problem-solving at all levels.”

The 2023 Northwest Indiana Women’s Leadership and Innovation Summit will take place on Sept. 14 at the James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex at PNW’s Westville branch campus, 1401 S. U.S. 421, Westville, IN. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. CST for networking, with programming beginning at 9 a.m. Brunch service will take place at 10:30 a.m., and the event will conclude at approximately 3 p.m.

The summit will feature over 20 speakers, representing a wide variety of business and community leadership roles. The following program emphasizes deep conversations and intentional networking for event attendees.

Featured Speakers

  • Emcee: Chelsea Whittington – Founder and CEO, C WHITT PR LLC
  • Mary Ann Ahern – Political Reporter, NBC 5 Chicago
  • Carnessa Carnes – CarnessaThePoetess
  • Rachel Clapp-Smith. Ph.D. – Teddy Jacobi Dean of the College of Business; Academic Director, The Leadership Institute at PNW; Professor of Leadership, Purdue University Northwest
  • Amanda D. Zelechoski, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP – Professor of Psychology, Founding Director of Clinical Training, Purdue University Northwest

Panel: SHE-Suite Leadership – In this post-pandemic era, more senior women are calling it quits. According to McKinsey and Lean In, for every woman stepping into a director-level leadership role, two are choosing to leave. We’ll sit down with corporate leaders to discuss how we might reverse this trend and how rising women leaders can best navigate their own paths to a seat at the She-Suite table.

  • Moderator: Jane Thomas, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, Purdue University Northwest; Assistant Academic Director, the Leadership Institute at PNW
  • Jen Trowbridge – President and CEO, Northwest Indiana Community Action
  • Tiffani Davis – VP, Manager of Client Experience, Centier Bank

Panel: She is an Agent of Change – Black women are often underestimated, under-celebrated, and face issues that are often not addressed or even acknowledged. Hear from a group of community change makers who are working to empower the next generation of Black women leaders to visualize their bright futures and potential through discovery, development, innovation and social change in their communities.

  • Moderator: Mekisha Richardson – Assistant Director, the Leadership Institute at PNW
  • Charita Lucas – Executive Director and Founder, Future Cycle Breakers
  • Angie Nelson Deuitch – President and Owner, I&D Squared Consulting
  • Faith Spencer – President and CEO, IronWorkz
  • Chareice White – Regional Business Development Officer, Community Investment Fund of Indiana

Panel: She Changes the Narrative – Despite evidence of the benefits of gender-based representation, women remain heavily underrepresented in many sectors. We’ll sit down with a panel of women writing their own stories of success in traditionally male-dominated industries to discuss how we can build better support systems and engage more women in the fields they represent.

  • Moderator: Sheila Matias – Executive Director, the Leadership Institute at PNW
  • Nassim Abdi – CEO and Co-Founder, StoryBolt
  • Alexandrea Horton, Ph.D. – Logistics Account Manager, ArcBest
  • Danita Johnson, Ph.D. – President and CEO, Edgewater Health
  • Leah Konrady – CEO, Konrady Plastics

Keynote Experience – Attendees will enjoy a fun and interactive session focused on bold choices, confidence, presence, pivoting and authenticity. Enhance your core communication skills that inspire collaboration, active listening and openness to new ideas, and leave equipped to even more effectively influence the way you lead your work and people.

  • Arlieta Hall – Improvisational Teaching Artist
  • Casey Navarro – Improvisational Teaching Artist
  • Rachael Mason – Improvisational Teaching Artist

Registration is open for the 2023 Northwest Indiana Women’s Leadership and Innovation Summit. Individual tickets are $95 and tables of 10 can be purchased for $750. A small business bundle of 3 tickets can also be purchased for $255, and sponsorships are available. For more information and to register, please visit pnw.edu/womens-summit or by emailing leadershipinstitute@pnw.edu.