The 2007 Women’s Leadership Conference, “Agents of Change,” addressed topics such as career building and development, negotiating self-worth, and the personal and professional challenges facing women in the 21st century. Francine Zorn Trachtenberg, president of the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center and former senior vice president of WETA, Washington’s public broadcasting station, kicked off the conference with a keynote speech reflecting on her impressive career, titled “What I Did with my Liberal Arts Education.” Trachtenberg candidly discussed her life journey, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of opportunities that come your way. The afternoon speaker was Judy Norsigian, co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the groundbreaking book that helped to launch the women’s health movement in the United States, and executive director of the Boston-based organization Our Bodies, Ourselves
Also on the agenda were two professional development sessions on understanding women’s emotions as leaders and financial leadership. Business management specialist Ruth H. Axelrod led the first breakout session, “Leading from the Heart: Bringing Your Passion to Life,” which focused on getting in touch with one’s inner value system and developing self-awareness. The second workshop, moderated by financial adviser Babette E. Smith of Ameriprise Financial Services, featured three panelists who highlighted the basic tools women need to effectively manage their finances and take control of their lives. The presenters discussed the importance of securing a power of attorney, monitoring credit ratings, and saving early for retirement.
The conference ended with a dessert and panel discussion on “Agents of Change” featuring Mary Cheh, D.C. councilwoman and professor of law at the George Washington University (GW); journalist Dorothy Gilliam, former president of the National Association of Black Journalists and director of the Prime Movers Project, a unique program pairing veteran journalists with students from high schools with large minority or diverse populations in the Washington, D.C., area; and Joanne Holbrook Patton, Mount Vernon Seminary (MVS) ’48, owner and partner of Green Meadows Farm in South Hamilton, Mass. Honey W. Nashman, associate professor of human services and of sociology at GW, served as moderator of the discussion.