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Women’s Empowerment Summit coming to Puerto Rico in September

The National Women’s Collaborative, a female online community based in Washington DC, will be holding their “We Mean Business Women’s Empowerment Summit” Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 at the Royal Sonesta San Juan Hotel.

The event will cover several topics such as the impact on working women, the economic state of women, the gender gap in STEM education, women’s mental health, among others, NWC Co-Founder Sharon Jackson told News is my Business.

NWC has invested about $60,000 in the summit and counts with the sponsorship of Banco Popular, Destilería Serallés, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish), Bettina Cosmetics and more may sign on as sponsors.

The event’s mission is to get 150-175 women from different industries and backgrounds to collaborate on panels and conferences, regardless of their career level or specific industry, NWC Co-Founder LeeAnn Petersen said.

“I hope that the takeaway is that everyone learns something, but it isn’t just about business, it is about our whole person, and that everybody comes back next year,” said Petersen.

“I think we ought to do it in Puerto Rico every year, because there has been such a warm embrace from the community, that I don’t see why we don’t do it here every year, but I could also see us expanding,” said Petersen.

“Maybe doing something out on the west coast in the spring, as opposed to the fall,” added Petersen.

Women from the island, the continental United States, St. Thomas, and St. Croix have confirmed their participation and Jackson said approximately 50 spaces are left for the convention.

“For a local Puerto Rican woman, it is $350 for the two and a half days, which includes receptions and fees,” said Jackson, referring to the cost of participating.

“For our stateside women because they have to stay, it’s $1,200 and that includes the three-night hotel, as well as the conference events,” said Jackson.

Some of the panelists already on board are Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Actress Kim Fields, Maria Cristina Gonzalez, chief communications officer of Popular Inc, Lucienne Gigante, co-founder of Animus, Yizette Cifredo, president of Brio 27, Ellevate Network CEO Marciella Herrera, and Bettina Mercado, president of Bettina Cosmetics, among others.

“I want every woman to walk out of that room after two-and-a-half days of talking and learning with four connections,” said Jackson. “We’re bringing something to Puerto Rico that could benefit the Puerto Rican businesswomen and their success.”

NWC got started in February 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were forced to work virtually through a Facebook group, which first had 300 members and now has about 2,000 women across the country.

This event will mark as the official in-person meeting of the women that have been connecting through the online platform for the past two years, Petersen explained.

“Right now, we want to keep it small, we want to keep it intimate to nurture those relationships so that everyone leaves with a colleague or a friend, but down the road I can see us growing,” said Petersen.

Author Details
Author Details
Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently a junior at Sacred Heart University. Majoring in Journalism and adding a minor in sustainable development and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

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