Salem College welcomed nearly 200 Triad-area college students to campus for a day of professional development, networking and inspiration at its inaugural Women’s Conference, Developing Emerging Professionals on Sept. 29.
Students from Salem, Winston-Salem State University, Wake Forest University, Forsyth Technical Community College, UNC-Greensboro, Guilford College and Davidson County Community College were all in attendance.
The day-long event provided students the opportunity to learn and practice many of the skills critical to building a successful career in today’s highly competitive and ever-changing marketplace.
The morning keynote speaker was Cynthia Marshall, president of NC AT&T, and the afternoon keynote speaker was Cheryl Lindsay, director of Diversity and Inclusion, Hanesbrands Inc.
The conference culminated with a keynote address by critically-acclaimed actress and activist Kathy Najimy, who has appeared in more than 20 films, including starring roles in the “Sister Act” movies, “Hocus Pocus” and “Hope Floats.” A Lebanese American, Najimy is an outspoken advocate for women’s issues, especially those regarding the image and confidence of young women. She spoke to the group on “The Courage to Succeed.”
Participants learned about networking, resume writing, business etiquette and a number of other topics from an impressive lineup of local and regional female business professionals, including many Salem alumna. Presenters included: Brandy Nelson ’97, principal of Rocky River High School in Mecklenburg County; Hilary Kosloske, senior managing director of Scott and Stringfellow; Jessica Faulkenberry ’01, senior VP and director of Integrated Relationship Management at BB&T; Deana Bass ’95, owner and managing partner of Bass Public Affairs; Ramonda Kyser, senior consultant at FARR Associates; Dorothy Henley ’91, former director at RJ Reynolds Holdings; Margaret Spring, chief of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Kristie Staton, marketing manager at Clark Powell; Susan Smith ’72, VP of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; Barbara Cardenas, executive director of the YMCA of San Jose, Calif.; Jacqueline McBride, former director of Marketing and Public Relations at Salem College; and Mary Salem Thacker ’72, owner of Etiquette Essentials.
The Women’s Conference was sponsored by the Salem College Center for Women in Business and the Salem Signature Leadership program. The conference was made possible by a grant from BB&T. Other sponsors included AT&T and Hanesbrands, which provided Hanes and Donna Karan Hosiery products for all attendees.