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women tips Provides Professional Success

Conference provides women tips on empowerment, professional success

102118 Womens Conference

Kesha Williams makes a point during the first-ever Women's Conference at Arts of the Albemarle, Saturday. The conference was sponsored by the Eastern Women's Entrepreneurship Center, which is based at Elizabeth City State University. To see more photos from Saturday's conference, visit dailyadvance.com.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Attendees of the first-ever Women's Conference at Arts of the Albemarle on Saturday were offered myriad insights into professional success and personal empowerment, and how the two go hand in hand.

Hosted by the Eastern Women's Entrepreneurship Center, which is based at Elizabeth City State University, the event brought diverse speakers from across the state to Elizabeth City to share tips on furthering professional success, whether in business or other fields, and promoting personal confidence, a sense of identity, and well-being.

Entrepreneurship Center Director Caitlin Davis said the event strove to offer something for everyone, whether an entrepreneur or stay-at-home mom.

The rarity and value of the event wasn't lost on participants.

“You usually don't see something like this in Elizabeth City,” ECSU Registrar Althea Riddick told the audience as the conference got underway.

The event had three keynote speakers, the first of whom was Elena Creef, a 25-year professor of women's and gender studies at Wellesley College, a historic women's college in Massachusetts. Presenting that legacy at a women's conference wasn't a lot of pressure, but a “perfect alignment,” she said in an interview following her remarks.

Creef discussed her studies of girls of the Lakota Indian tribe in South Dakota, who participate in yearly, lengthy rides on horseback to Wounded Knee, the site of a massacre of hundreds of Native Americans by U.S. soldiers in 1890. The girls are a profile in courage and strength she said, noting one could keep up with men riders at only 8 years old.

The second keynote speaker was Wendy Bryant Gow, an international image consultant and professional organizer who's the chief executive officer of Lily Winston, of Chapel Hill. Gow emphasized that dressing for success and making good, lasting impressions are not “frivolous.” Fashion and advertising are multi-billion-dollar industries for a reason, she said.

“Visual representation of every aspect of your brand happens the moment you walk in that room,” Gow said. “There is strength in a visual opportunity.”

Gow said she draws cues from fashion icons like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Carol Phillips, and Jackie Onassis — women she said were known for “understated elegance.” She said she encourages clients to dress in enduring styles that best suit them, rather than embrace short-lived trends that will make them look dated in months or several years.

Among other tips, Gow encouraged women to keep their closets organized to give a sense of order and calm as they start the day; to go to lingerie specialists for properly supportive underwear; and for women to dress for their bodies as they are.

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