National, Local Figures Headline Women’s Conference

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Leadership Institute at CSU’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development will stage its fourth annual Women’s Leadership Development Conference on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 20-21.

A popular author and executives with a track record of workplace achievement will speak and-or direct workshops on topics addressing the theme “Changes, Challenges, Choices.”

Marci ShimoffNew York Times bestselling author Marci Shimoff, right, will give the keynote presentation “Happy for No Reason: Staying Empowered in the Midst of Change and Challenge” at 12:30 p.m. Monday. The topic is based on her current book, Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out.

She also authored six books in the self-help Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide in 33 languages and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for a total of 108 weeks.

As president and co-founder of the Esteem Group, she gives talks and seminars on self-esteem, self-empowerment and peak performance to corporations, professional and non-profit organizations and women’s associations. She also is a trainer for several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, General Motors, Sears, Kaiser Permanente and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Following Shimoff, local entrepreneur Ashley Hatcher will give a 2-2:30 p.m. talk on “How To Overcome Challenges in a Changing World Full of Choices.” Hatcher, president of Archer Innovations, Inc., was a pharmaceutical representative before she patented a non-slip serving tray that she sells worldwide as “The Lapper” through her home-based business. She and her product have been featured by the likes of ABC’s Good Morning America and ForbesLife magazine.

More conference highlights include:

• 2-3 p.m. Monday - speaker: Kelly Nelson, creative director/partner for The Maverick Group, Inc. Topic: “The Maverick Path-Creatively Commanding Your Course”

• 3-3:30 p.m. Monday - speaker: Becca Hardin, executive vice president for economic development, Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Topic: “Happy at Work, Happy at Home”

• 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday - entrepreneurship panel, moderator: Debbie Lane (The Leadership Edge); panelists: Marquette McKnight (Media, Marketing & More), Angela Wagenti (V’Roooom Technology Inc. and Columbus Lions) Sunday Rice (Sunday’s Day Spa), Cynthia Redding (HairWorks, Inc.), Sonya Eddings (The Coffee Beanery, LTD.) and Elizabeth Gross and Kathy Jackson (The Sample Shop)

• 8-8:50 a.m. Tuesday - breakfast program/speaker: Russ Carreker, president and CEO of Bytewise Measurement Systems, Inc. of Columbus and 2008 chair of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce

• 9 a.m.-Noon and 1:15-3 p.m. - breakout sessions. Leaders: Paula Collins (entrepreneur and executive for Peak Focus Zone of Atlanta), Sandra Jernigan (Aflac service performance manager), Beth Bussey (John B. Amos Cancer Center nutrition oncology services coordinator), Becky Miller (Columbus attorney) and Karla Brandau (executive leadership consultant)

• 3-3:50 p.m. Tuesday: closing keynote speaker Barbara Gauthier, WTVM News anchor. Topic: “You Can Come Home Again”

Gauthier, who recently joined WTVM as a news anchor, was born in Waverly Hall and graduated from Harris County High School in 1976. She has returned to her home area after career stops in Dallas, Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Connecticut.

The conference fee is $349. Register online at or call 706-568-5101.