From November 1-5, the 4th annual Women|Future Conference returned to the virtual stage and attracted more than 400 women professionals from around the world for an experience like no other! We had an information-packed week full of powerful content, networking, and empowering stories from industry-leading women in business.
Attendees gained powerful insights to help them in their professional and personal lives through sessions ranging from entrepreneurship to personal finance, workplace diversity, mental health, overcoming the imposter syndrome, lead generation strategies, social media marketing, and more. Read this blog for a recap of conference activities and highlights.
What Attendees are Saying
The 2021 Women|Future Conference was made up of over 140 transformative speakers from multiple industries and fields of thought. Speakers ranged from female founders, CEOs, small business owners, and executives of Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Frito-Lay, IBM, Infosys, John Hancock, Meta, Pinterest, Ralph Lauren, and SAP.
Here's what some of our attendees are saying about their experience:
I am so grateful and excited to have found this conference!...I've been to a lot of conferences over the years in my non-profit career. This is one of the best! These ladies know their stuff and the virtual aspect really makes it very personal in a fun way. They gave very focused, detailed insight on their specific topic and answered questions too!
- Ruby Gary, Registered Nurse, Bayless School District
The Women|Future Conference completely exceeded my expectations. It was the best virtual conference I have ever participated in. I loved the diversity of topics and speakers - I will definitely attend the next one!
-Virginia Marcolin, CEO/Founder, Aroma Textiles Lab
This is my second time attending the Women|Future Conference. The speakers who attended this conference truly care about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Recognizing that different people have different needs. If we are committed to giving people what they need to succeed, everyone then wins. The conference concentrate on different industries from technology, marketing, e-commerce, financing, and mental health. it was a big chance to connect with powerful women, tell their own stories, and how they have overcome obstacles to get to where they are now. It was a great experience and still by far the best conference I have attended.
- Shirin M. Alhroob, University of North Carolina
The WomenIFuture Conference offered access to a wealth of speakers, authors, and executives who shared their tips and techniques to build confidence and foster collaboration to create the life & career you desire and deserve. Fabulous.
- Nicole Smith, NJ Chapter Leader, Room to Read
If you're looking for a conference that focuses on supporting women in business, the Women|Future Conference is for you. Jam-packed with sessions that cover everything from personal to professional development, you'll have an outstanding experience.
- Debra Jason, Speaker/Copywriter, The Write Direction
The Opening Keynote
Sandy Carter, the Vice President of Public Sector Partners and Programs at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Stevie Award winner, kicked off the 2021 Women|Future Conference on November 1 with her opening keynote address, " Embracing Diversity & Empowering the Next Generation." Sandy provided insight into her expansive career through sharing her raw and real-life stories as a pioneering woman in tech. Each story she told was centered around one of her seven hacks for diversity and inclusion in the workforce for attendees to draw upon the lessons she learned from her experiences.
One of Sandy's seven hacks, "acting like an open API," was illustrated through a story she shared about a time she was faced with an unexpected, yet transformative 150-person meet and greet at her hotel upon landing in India in the middle of the night! She took the stage and gave an impromptu presentation after a 21-hour flight.
While explaining another diversity hack, "embracing failure," Sandy talked about a mistake she made early on in her career with AWS. She was encouraged by her boss to share this mistake with others in a public meeting, despite being very reluctant to focus on her mistake in a room full of employees.
"Probably one of the most impactful things in my career was admitting that I had made a big mistake, explaining why I had made it, taking full responsibility myself, and what I have done to fix it," she said.
Sandy told attendees that Amazonians "fail fast and move forward" and that some of Amazon's "most fantastic failures gave birth to groundbreaking new opportunities." She encouraged attendees to take the lesson she learned from her mistake and embrace their own failures;
"Take that bold move to share your failures publicly because it really does have an impact on what others learn and how others move forward. If you can’t embrace your failures, typically you can’t move forward as fast or drive what you need to in the marketplace."
Sandy Carter credits much of her success to surrounding herself with the right people who she refers to as her "own board of supporters" and taking care of her team. "One of my favorite things that one of my mentors told me is to always reach back and pull someone forward, because if you do that, imagine the impact you'll see in the world," she recited during the session.
Best Sessions from the Week
Throughout the week, Women|Future Conference attendees heard sessions about business networking, work-life balance, wealth attraction, overcoming adversity, mentorship, and more. The five-day agenda featured 43 sessions, workshops, and plenty of networking opportunities. View the full 2021 agenda.
The top conference sessions by the number of registered attendees for each session were:
- Hear Me, Love Me, Hire Me: Top Secrets from World-Class Speakers on How to Use Presentations to Grow Your Business
- Marketing Tactics to Future Proof Your Business & Your Career
- The Future of Work - Preparing For the Changing Business Landscape
- The Most Powerful Marketing Mix: Blend Storytelling + Strategy to Grow Your Business
- LinkedIn Logic
- Personal Development Training: Abundance 360 - Creating Your Best Life Ever
- Why Diverse Teams Drive Better Outcomes
Pictured above is a screen capture from the Wednesday, November 3 opening general session, "The Future of Work - Preparing For the Changing Business Landscape." The panelists discussed everything from social justice issues permeating workplace discussions, and the very definition of a workspace changing for good. Kate Winkler, the CEO of Ruby, moderated the panel which was made up of four women leaders from Park Place Payments, Skillsoft, Lions +Tigers, and Corporate Class Inc.
Selina Meere, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Park Place Payments, mentioned the importance of hiring people from different industries, educational backgrounds, and experience levels in order to further diversify and innovate within an organization; "I feel very strongly that you shouldn't only look at industry experience when hiring," she said. "If you keep hiring from within your industry, you are not going to get out of that cycle or let new thoughts in." She continued,
One of the top breakout sessions at the Women|Future Conference was, "Personal Development Training: Abundance 360- Creating Your Best Life Ever" by one of the world's most requested motivational speakers, media personality, and corporate CEO; Lisa Nichols. On November 4, Lisa moved attendees to kickstart their personal transformation journies.
"The biggest impact can be made if someone comes from outside of your industry who is smart, empathetic, strategic, can see high-level, and can ask thoughtful questions that someobody who has been in the industry wouldn't ask...Get out of that box-checking idea that someone has to have certain experiences before hiring them. Rethink what success looks like! Success isn't necessarily where someone went to school, or what pedigree of companies they worked for."
She eloquently and passionately talked about how to use your words, voice, and thoughts to remove the barriers that have held you back from living the life of your dreams.
Some of the mantras Lisa asked attendees to type in the chatbox during her session were: "You are not alone," "REclaim your time; don’t give dollar time to penny tasks" and "REchoose your soul-fueled goals."
Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition
The second annual Women-Owned Business Pitch Competition at the Women|Future Conference provided a platform for eight women-owned businesses to compete for a chance to win funding. During this live, 'Shark Tank'-style competition on November 4, a panel of judges and attendees watched each finalist present a live four-minute pitch. The Pitch Competition finalists answered questions from the judges about their business model, target market, and operations strategy. View the finalists and read more about the competition here.
The winner of the Pitch Competition was LAMIK Beauty, a tech-enabled clean color cosmetics company focusing on women of all diverse backgrounds. Founder Kim Roxie won a $5,000 cash prize and a $4,200 value certification from Certify My Company.
The second place winner of the Pitch Competition was Kul Mocks Craft Mocktails, a non-alcoholic hand-crafted cocktail brand. The Founder of Kul Mocks, Danielle Goss, won $2,500 for her business.
In third place was Fetchadate, a dating app for single pet lovers. Founder Sheryl Mathys received $1,000 to support her business.
Access the 2021 Conference Sessions On-Demand
Did you miss this year's conference? You can register to watch the replays of over 40 sessions including our opening keynote for just $39.
On-demand attendees will have access to the 2021 virtual Women|Future Conference platform through November 2022. The platform includes five days of sessions and the lists of speakers, attendees, mentors, and sponsors that participated in the 2021 Women|Future Conference.
The 2022 Women|Future Conference
We look forward to an even bigger and more exciting event next year at the fifth annual Women|Future Conference! This will be a virtual event held from November 8-10, 2022 presented in conjunction with the 2022 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
Sign up for our mailing list to get notified when early-bird tickets launch for the 2022 Women|Future Conference, the call for speakers opens, and other exciting announcements.
Special Thanks to our 2021 Sponsors and Partners
We are proud to partner with the following publications, media outlets, and organizations that share our mission in supporting women in business. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for the 2022 Women|Future Conference, sign up here to get notified when the 2022 prospectus is released.
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Ruslana Milikhiker, Conference & Event Manager
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Nina Moore, Marketing Manager