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Women In Business Aim To ‘Illuminate’ Attendees At Annual Conference

On Thursday, April 21, and Friday, April 22, Penn State’s Women in Business club will host its 13th annual Powerful Women Paving The Way (PWPW) conference.

The conference, which will be held on Zoom, will feature panel discussions, breakout sessions, giveaways, and three keynote speakers.

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The theme of the 2022 conference is “Illuminate.” Lauren Langan, the director of this year’s conference, chose this theme after attending her first Women in Business conference last year and finding inspiration in what she learned.

“As much as it means to light something up, it also means to enlighten someone and illuminate them on a topic,” Langan said. “As a WIB attendee last year, what really touched me about [the conference] is all that I learned.”

Three keynote speakers headline the two-day event. First, Penn State and Women in Business alum Kathryn Dougherty will open the conference at 7 p.m. on Thursday with a discussion about her success as the founder and CEO of Spritz Beverages.

At 8:45 a.m. on Friday, PWPW will welcome Anne Beiler, the founder of Auntie Anne’s. Beiler was slated to speak at the group’s 2020 conference, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Penn State alum Jessica Rusu will close out the keynote speaker schedule. Rusu is the Chief Data, Information, and Intelligence Officer for the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. She’ll speak about her experiences in cybersecurity and offer advice throughout the asynchronous conversation.

Throughout the morning and afternoon on Friday, attendees can enroll in virtual breakout sessions geared toward different aspects of business. Some of the sessions include topics about networking, the effect of COVID-19 in the workplace, and career changes. Participants will be able to attend sessions that cater more to their interests throughout the conference.

“For example, we have a breakout session about financial literacy, so if that is something that somebody struggles with, they can go to that session versus a breakout session about intersectionality in the workplace,” Langan said.

Mary Beth Trypus, chief revenue officer of Vera Bradley, will host a “PWPW Talk” Friday afternoon. Trypus will lead the afternoon virtual chat and will provide PWPW’s first 300 registrants with a free Vera Bradley bag.

With the conference approaching, Langan is excited and proud of her team that has worked hard to prepare this year’s PWPW symposium.

“I love seeing everyone, the further and further we get, become comfortable writing emails to corporate sponsors, leading their own teams, and so much more,” she said. “I think that’s what I’ve been the most proud of. I’ve loved seeing [my team] flourish to the point where they don’t need me anymore.”

She also addressed the impact of her first PWPW conference and expressed how eager she is to watch her influence and hard work unfold and impact other women in the business world.

“I’m really excited to see everything we’ve planned come to fruition and how valuable that’s going to be to our attendees,” Langan said.

Penn State students who are interested in attending this year’s PWPW conference can register online. Registration costs $19.99 for students and $50 for professionals and the general public.

A full schedule of events is available online, too. For more information, head over to PWPW’s Instagram page.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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