LSU to host Women’s Summit Oct. 19

For the third-straight year, Louisiana State University will host the Louisiana Women’s Summit, a premier conference for women, on Oct. 14 at the Lod Cook Alumni Conference Center at LSU.

Keynote speakers for the all-day event will be Simone Bruni, president and owner of Demo Diva Demolition, and retired women’s basketball superstar Lisa Leslie.

This statewide conference, titled “Power & Possibilities,” is being hosted by the LSU Women’s Center and sponsored by LSU and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

To register for the Louisiana Women’s Summit, visit Full conference registration is $75, while students can register for $35.

Louisiana Women’s Summit serves as a statewide dialogue for women in Louisiana with the vision to strengthen the advancement of women by offering an interactive forum that provides advocacy, education and networking opportunities. It focuses on advancing and empowering women by addressing social, cultural, economic and political challenges that women experience through an engaging and interactive agenda.

During the opening of the Louisiana Women’s Summit, 16 women will be presented with Pathfinder Awards.

The Pathfinder Award is presented annually to women who demonstrate excellence in business, leadership and community engagement, while creating new paths that promote the development and recognition of other women. The 2011 recipients include Elaine Abell, an attorney for Iberia Bank; Jennifer Jackson, assistant to chancellor for campus diversity at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Claudia Adley, vice president of Pelican Gas Management; Bruni; Lucy Chun, a broker with ReMax Realty and chairperson of the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana; Karen Freese, regulatory section attorney at Entergy; Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins, the owner of Hightower-Jenkins & Associates; and Rose Hudson, chief executive officer at the Louisiana Lottery.

Also receiving Pathfinder Awards will be Terri Landy, an independent film maker; Laura Leach, member of the LSU Board of Supervisors and owner of the Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company; Shelly Mockler, training & development manager at Mockler Beverage; Dr. Patricia Molina, a physician at the LSU Health Sciences Center; Cyndi Nguyen, executive director of the Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training; Toni Rice, executive director of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network; Peggy Scott, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana; and Dr. Tasha Shamlin, owner of the Medical Spa of Baton Rouge.

Conference registration will begin at 8 a.m. The presentation of the Pathfinder Awards and the opening keynote address by Bruni is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

After two break-out sessions, Leslie will deliver her keynote address during the luncheon beginning at noon. In addition, Rolfe McCollister, the publisher and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, will be presented with the Men Who Champion Women Award during the luncheon. A third break-out session will follow, with the closing remarks scheduled to conclude at 4 p.m.

A resident of Lakeview in New Orleans, Bruni was a corporate meeting planner prior to Hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane devastated New Orleans and particularly the Lakeview area, Bruni chose to stay in New Orleans and founded Demo Diva Demolition. From humble beginnings, her company, now in business for four years, initially specialized in residential demolition in Louisiana. But, Demo Diva Demolition has now expanded into commercial and selective interior demolition throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

One of the greatest women’s basketball players in history, Leslie is a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. After a standout career at the University of Southern California, Leslie was a seven-time WNBA All-Star and led the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA championships before retiring in 2009. The first player to dunk in a WNBA game, Leslie was voted one of the top 15 players in WNBA history in 2011. In addition to her outstanding athletic ability, Leslie is also a fashion model, having signed with the prestigious Wilhelmina Agency in 1996, and has been featured in many publications, including Vogue.

Break-out session topics during the conference include “Working in a Global Village,” “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: The Keys to Successful Risk-Taking,” “Harnessing the Human Potential Within Your Organization,” “She Who Can, Does: Influencing Public Policy,” “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There,” “What Every Woman Must Know About Breast Cancer and Early Detection!,” “Financial Readiness: Will You Have Enough to be Happy at 70?,” “The Social Media Revolution and Your Business,” “Your World: Inspiring Dialogue on Women’s Issues through Diverse Perspectives,” “Communication DISCovery,” and “Motherhood vs. Career: Balancing Work and Family Life.”

For more information regarding the conference or the LSU Women’s Center, contact Catherine Hopkins at or 225-578-1714.

The Women’s Center is located on the campus of LSU and promotes the advancement of women’s issues and gender equity through its services, advocacy efforts and educational programs. The Women’s Center is a reporting unit in the LSU Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach.

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