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The 2022 Summit will begin on Friday evening, August 5, with a high-energy Kick-Off Reception featuring the Mayor of Baton Rouge, The Honorable Sharon Weston Broome. Spend an evening mixing and mingling with our dynamic speakers, sponsors and community leaders. Immediately following the program, we will close out the evening with an exciting musical performance by international drummer, Queen Cora! ​


On Saturday, August 6, participants will experience a full day of programming including: an Opening Plenary featuring The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore; a Keynote Luncheon featuring Deryl McKissack; a Closing Plenary featuring panelists who speak from the perspective of A Younger Generation Refocused on Opportunities in a New World; and The Afterparty Networking Reception. We're offering eleven curated Interactive Learning & Sharing Sessions featuring expert moderators, panelists, and facilitators who will give presentations on issues that impact and empower Black women. 

Friday, August 5th 2022

WLS Kickoff Reception

Join us Friday evening for an exciting, energetic reception featuring The Honorable Sharon Weston Broome. Mayor Broome is the first female Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. Following the program will be an exciting performance by the renowned international drummer and artist, Queen Cora Coleman, who drummed for Prince for 5 years, and 3 years with Beyoncé also serving as the Director of Music.

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Saturday, August 6th 2022

Check-In &
Networking Breakfast

Opening Plenary 
9:00am - 10:00am

The Open Plenary will feature a conversation moderated by DeMetris Sampson featuring The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore. Vanessa Diane Gilmore is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She was appointed to this position by President Bill Clinton in 1994. At that time, she was the youngest sitting federal judge in the United States

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Interactive Learning & Sharing Session 1

Reimagining Your Purpose

The last couple of years have pushed us to take the time to know ourselves. Who are you now? Where are you going? Do you know what it’s going to take to get there? This session will address the importance of finding your “reimagined” purpose. Moderator: Effie Dennison Panelists: Marjorie Craft, Catrina Craft, and Tiffini Hall Presenter: Dr. Cynthia Mickens Ross, Ph.D.

Sitting Meditation

Restore Your Health & Wellness

Maybe you have postponed your goals for improving your health. Or maybe you started your new pathway to health but have stalled. Let our experts share with you information about gaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Moderator: Dr. Donna Ellen Newsome, MD., Ph. D. Panelists: Debra Peek-Haynes & Donna Richardson

Reimagining Your Wealth

We are in a topsy-turvy world. Where do you stand financially? What does it take to become financially strong and independent? Do you need to take another look? Come hear successful women as they share how they navigate and reimagine their wealth goals. Moderator: DeMetris Sampson Panelists: Mildred Carrethers, Brenda Jackson, Paula Parker, & Erika Salter


WLS Luncheon   12:00pm-1:15pm

Join us for lunch to hear from our dynamic keynote speaker, Ms. Deryl McKissack as she shares her wisdom and expertise with the women of WLS. Deryl is president and chief executive officer of McKissack & McKissack, managing over $15 billion in projects nationwide. During the past 30 years under her leadership, McKissack & McKissack has managed such landmark projects as the new Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall, MGM National Harbor Casino, Navy Pier Centennial Projects in Chicago and served as the architectural firm of record for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.


Interactive Learning & Sharing Session 2

General Motors Dealership Diversity Opportunities for Women

As we emerge into this post pandemic era, women and minorities have the opportunity to reemerge as franchise owners. In this session, GM will share information regarding the opportunity to become General Motors dealer operators.


The Color of Innovation: Minority Women Delivering Change Through Innovation

Join City of Dallas Deputy City Manager, Kimberly Tolbert, for a conversation with some innovative women of color in Dallas that are taking the lead and bringing about change. In this session, panelists will share on the importance of understanding the role of innovation as we move into the “new world”. Moderator: Kimberly Tolbert Panelists: Pamela Lear, and Pamela Luckett,

Reemergence with Joy

Coming back intact and with a new outlook on life. Let’s add joy to your journey. Defining joy can be elusive. Don’t know what it is? In this session, we will explore the decision about bringing experiences into our being and how that can liberate us and help us regain our joy. Moderator: Camellia Kennedy Panelists: Dorothy Burton, Patricia Coleman, & Pastor Evelyn Kelly

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Who’s the New You?

Are you ready to embrace those parts of you that are uniquely you? And letting the world in on the secret? In this session, you will learn more about the importance of distinguishing yourself. The world is waiting. Moderator: Debra Hunter-Johnson Panelists: Alisa Allen, Cheryl Polote-Williamson and Danyel Surrency-Jones

Interactive Learning & Sharing Session 3 

Bringing Humanity Back to Tech: Redefining Our Journey to the Future

Join Hattie Hill, CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation, as she engages in a powerfully curated conversation with Trice Johnson, a Digital Innovation Executive, and T. Canady Barton, a Transformation Executive, to discuss the role that women in leadership play in designing a digital future where humanism and moral values are at the center of the way we create, implement, and use technology.

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Entrepreneurial Essentials: Removing Obstacles

Have you thought about being an entrepreneur? Want to become a franchisee? Are you ready to make that move? Our presenters will share with you the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. Moderator: Sophia Johnson Panelists: Courtney Caldwell, Allyson Lawson, Mandy Price, & Donna Richardson

Understanding Cryptocurrency

This session will explore what cryptocurrency is, basic terminology, and what Layer 1 is along with some of the coins that are considered Layer 1. Facilitator: Frances Smith-Dean

Young Business Woman

Refocusing on DE&I, Creating Opportunities, & Doing Business with Airports

Thought doing business in airports was something you couldn’t do? It's time to refocus and learn about available opportunities in airports and how to get started. Moderator: Donna Williams Panelists: Rhonda Arnold, Zenola Campbell, and Tamela Lee

Voices Creating the Vision of a Reimagined Future:
4:30pm - 5:15pm

What does our reimagined future look like? What role will women play in building our reimagined future? This session will focus on women sharing their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions for our vision of the future. Moderator: Jessica Armstead Panelists: Jade Parrish, Jasmine Ohen, & Ashley Turner

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The After Party:
Networking Reception 

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