2nd biennial women's leadership forum

Ohio Wesleyan University
October 19-20, 2018

Join us for this empowering event featuring opportunities for connection, professional development, and discussion of our shared experiences, such as life-work balance and the value of advocating for yourself.


Friday, October 19

5:45 pm Check-in and Networking Reception
Beeghly Library
6:45 pm Welcome, Kara Trott '83 and Samantha Wallace Sharpe '09
Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, Benes Rooms
7:00 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Keynote Address, Lisa Luckett

Lisa's husband Teddy Luckett '84 was among those tragically lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Her new book The Light in 9/11: Shocked by Kindness, Healed by Love traces her inspiring journey through grief, offering empowering everyday lessons on handing life's challenges.

To learn more about Lisa, visit her website or click here to read the forward from her book.
8:45 pm Book Signing with Lisa Luckett

Saturday, October 20

All events in 3rd floor Merrick except meals

8:30 am Breakfast and check-in
Merrick Hall
9:00 am Welcome, Kara Trott '83 and Samantha Wallace Sharpe '09
  "Leaning In and Rising Above - Challenges Faced by Women in the Workplace"

Colleen Nissl '72, moderator
Colleen served as the Global Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary for NetJets Inc. (wholly owned subsidiary of BerkshireHathaway) from 2011 through her retirement in 2018.


Beth Burns '79
Beth is in her second season as associate coach and special advisor to the head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Louisville. She has more than 21 years of NCAA Division 1 head coaching experience, earning six conference and two regional Coach of the Year awards. 

Michelle Mulkern Kilkenney '99
Michelle is a corporate partner in Kirkland's Chicago office, and an active committee member and Chicago office Pro Bono Coordinator of the firm’s award-winning pro bono program. Crain’s Chicago Business recently included Michelle on their list of "Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers 2018."

Poe Timmons '82
Poe is the Chief Financial Officer for Jeni’s Ice Cream. She was the first female partner at a Columbus big four accounting firm, and she presented training across the country for her firm on gender inclusivity, appropriateness, and sexual harassment.
  Break and Burst

Current students will share their OWU experiences.
10:15 a.m. "Speaking Up - Advocating for Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community"

Emma Drongowski '16, moderator
Emma is a program associate with GreenLight Cincinnati, which helps transform the lives of children, youth, and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure to harness the vision and ambition of social entrepreneurs to make lasting change. 


Gay Johnson Grossman '88
Gay is a strong advocate for her daughter, who suffers from a rare genetic condition. She and her husband moved across the country, sought out specialists and other families suffering similar conditions, and have sought to bring awareness to the need for research into rare medical conditions.

Andrea Carr Hedrick '96
Andrea was most recently the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Gap, Inc., specializing in leadership development and developing your personal brand.

Shondra E. Wygal '94
Shondra is the Associate State Director of Outreach and Advocacy for AARP Texas.  She manages AARP’s educational campaigns and outreach efforts in Greater Houston and has more than ten years’ experience in advocacy and political campaigns.
  Break and Burst
11:15 a.m. "The Life-Work Balance Unicorn - Seeking Balance and Making Trade-Offs"

Lisa Courtice Hon. '04, moderator
Lisa is the President/CEO of United Way of Central Ohio. She is a former member of the OWU Board of Trustees and the wife of former OWU President Tom Courtice.


Katie White Arendt '98
Katie is a Consultant in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. She is the Chair of the Division of Methodist South Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. She is mom to three kids under the age of 12.

Jonna Gallo Weppler '93
Jonna was most recently Deputy Editor at Family Circle magazine. She advocated for updating the content to reflect the modern woman. She has two children.

Kelli McNairy Winston '93
Kelli has a marketing background and elected to be a stay-at-home mom to focus on the development of her children. She uses her professional background to bring a unique and diverse perspective to the numerous organizations she serves within her community.
12:30 pm Interactive Lunch, Schimmel/Conrades Science Center Atrium

Interactive lunch session led by WOW committee where attendees will develop their own personal 10-second intro.
2 p.m. "Gravitas...Do I have it? Do I need it? Where can I buy it?"  

An interactive session with Deborah Thomas-Nininger, a professional development expert whose lessons translate to women at work and at home. Click here to learn more about Deborah.
3:30 pm Closing, Katie Webster, Director of Alumni Relations & Engagement

Learn more about the free OWU Alumni Network and the importance of student/alumni mentoring and opportunities for alumni/alumni networking.

Hotel Information

Click to view a list of local hotels to plan your visit!

Want to relive the magic of the inaugural Women of Ohio Wesleyan forum, held in September 2016? Click here to learn more about the the program and attendees.

WOW Leadership Committee

Kara Trott ’83 – co-chair | Samantha Wallace Sharpe ’09 – co-chair

Helen Crider Smith '56 | Nancy Morgan Giles '60 | Jody Dodd Cottrill '73
Anne Derhammer English '82 | Mary Beth Sommer '88 | Kelli McNairy Winston '93
Shondra Wygal '94 | Liz Long Downey '06 | Ruthie Goodell '09 | Kelsey Ullom '14
Linda Diamond, Honorary Alumna ('18) and Community Volunteer

WOW Legacy Committee

Marianne Haenlein Alciati '78 | Denise Sabo Brenner '00 | Jessica Choate '17
Linda Gaddis Ferrari '72 | Kristen Hajduk '05 | Vernita Johnson '97
Amy McCracken Kelly '97 | Ellen Kick '93 | Carol Hilkirk Latham '61
Colleen Nissl '72 | Sheila Fagan Plecha '84 | Tracie Winbigler '87

Questions? Contact Katie Webster, Director of Alumni Relations, at kpwebste@owu.edu.

Thank you for your interest!

Women of Ohio Wesleyan


Mowry Alumni Center