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The largest women’s leadership conference in Central Massachusetts, bringing together the most forward thinking female leaders.


Thursday, June 12, 2025

Time: 8:00am-4:00pm

Location: DCU Convention Center

2025 Sponsorship Opportunities Available Now

At the Chamber, and our WWLC committee, we have been impressed and grateful for the continued support of the conference sponsors. This is the event you want to be a part of! Reach out to Karen Pelletier for options.

The Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference

This conference is an opportunity for women to build their careers and share their experiences with other women.

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has hosted the Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference since 2009 in order to give women the tools to discover the possibilities available to them, lift each other up, and create a hub of smart, talented, and forward-thinking women.

Women in the workforce overcome obstacles each and every day and the Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference is a place to share experiences and bring together dynamic, accomplished, and confident female leaders.

The programming of the day-long conference is designed to motivate attendees to overcome traditional barriers, to becoming influencers, change-agents, and leaders in their own fields.

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2025 Keynote Speakers

Erica Dhawan

When leaders want to break team silos, drive exponential growth and innovate through teamwork, they call Erica Dhawan. Erica Dhawan is an internationally recognized leading authority, speaker and advisor on 21st century teamwork, collaboration and innovation. Named as one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50, she is the author of two bestselling books, Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence and Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance.

As we continue to experience an increasingly digital world where work practices are changing at a blistering pace, Erica shares innovative strategies to unlock the collective power of teams, build a culture of trust across any distance and create authentic engagement to ensure competitiveness. Rated #1 on the Top Women Keynote Speakers list, Erica frequently appears in the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal. Erica speaks on global stages ranging from the World Economic Forum at Davos, to the US Army, to companies such as Coca-Cola, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, and Cisco. She holds degrees from Harvard University, MIT Sloan, and The Wharton School.

Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference Scholarship

For many years, the Chamber awards conference scholarships to young women enrolled in Worcester public schools to connect them with professional development, potential mentors, and provide connections that may inspire them and influence their path for the future.

Susan Mailman Aspiring Young Women Leaders Scholarship: This scholarship is 100% funded by conference attendees—professional businesswomen in Central Mass. The scholarship began in 2019, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference, now the largest women’s leadership conference in Central MA.  Susan (Sue) Mailman, President of Coghlin Electrical Contractors, was the first chairwoman of the conference planning committee. After chairing the conference for the first two years, Sue has remained a sponsor and attendee each year. For many women, Sue is a mentor and an inspiration. She is a tireless advocate for Worcester, women, and young people. Each year at the conference, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is proud to award one WPS senior female a financial scholarship in honor of Sue to support their educational and career plans.

To qualify for this scholarship, students who identify as female must:
1.      Submit the completed APPLICATION by the deadline March 10, 2025
2.      Be a Senior in WPS with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
3.      Have a target educational and career path or plan.
4.      Create a 3-minute video summary explaining why you are applying (for conference and financial scholarship)


Professional Attendees Scholarship:

Professional Attendee Scholarships are available to receive a sponsor donated ticket, please contact Stefanie Silva at

2024 Conference Schedule

May 2, 2024

Time Description
7:15 AM Registration (3rd floor), Coffee, Networking
8:00 AM Morning Keynote Speaker, Cassandra Worthy
9:45 AM Break, Coffee, Networking, exhibitor marketplace
10:15 AM 4 Workshops: A/B, C/D, E, Junior Ballroom
11:30 AM Break, Coffee, Networking, exhibitor marketplace
11:45 AM Lunch
12:30 PM Break, Coffee, Networking, exhibitor marketplace
12:45 PM 4 Workshops: A/B, C/D, E, Junior Ballroom
2:00 PM Break, Coffee, Networking, exhibitor marketplace
2:15 PM Afternoon Keynote Speaker, PROFESSOR MAJA
3:15 PM Reception, exhibitor marketplace
4:00 PM Adjourn


Thank you to our 2024 Workshop presenters!

2025 Workshop proposals will be available this summer!

Mastering Your Money Mindset: Cultivating Financial EQ | Holly Knight

Money has a profound impact on our lives, influencing the choices we make, the opportunities we pursue, and the quality of life we enjoy. However, the way we think and feel about money, often referred to as our “money mindset or money story,” can significantly affect our financial well-being. For women striving to excel in their careers and personal lives, understanding and harnessing their financial Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is paramount.  In this engaging session, attendees will embark on an interactive storytelling journey that will transform the way you think about money. With a keen focus on emotional intelligence, we will explore the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that shape your relationship with finances while cultivating resilience in the face of financial challenges.  Through this experience, you’ll gain valuable insights into your own financial EQ and learn to leverage it effectively. The goal is to empower you to take control of your financial destiny, helping you make smarter choices, build wealth, and achieve the financial independence you deserve. Prepare to be inspired, enlightened, and motivated in an interactive and unique learning experience.

About Holly Knight
I’m forever curious. I’m an educator. I’m an advocate. I’m a financial coach. It’s hard to articulate the mechanics of who I am and the path that led me to this career in a small block of words. So…what moves me?  Open, authentic, and consistent money conversations…at any age, can dramatically change a person’s life. Listening to countless stories… told through a narrative riddled with shame, guilt and a lack of trust, has shaped me. As a financial professional and a human. Financial independence is something that EVERY person should have the right and access to. And it should be provided in a way that is easy to understand, implement and manage. This is what fuels the fire in my belly. Small Changes. BIG Results.

Sponsored by: Webster Five

Unpacking Pet-to-Threat Theory for Professional Working Professional Women of Color | Bwann Kellie Gwann

This workshop is designed to unpack Kecia M. Thomas’, “Pet-to-Threat Theory” model and the impact of Pet-to-Threat Theory on Mental Health and feelings of invisibility for leaders who identify as Women of Color. This session will also discuss ways women can navigate through workplace environments as they continue to advance in their professional careers.

About Bwann Gwann
Bwann Gwann is the Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bwann possesses over a decade of combined experience in Higher Education in areas such as Human Resources/Academic Operations Student Affairs, Student Mentorship/Coaching, and Diversity Initiatives. While Bwann is deeply committed to fostering spaces and community of belonging in her professional role, she has remained a beloved member of City of Malden, Massachusetts community. In 2019-2021, Bwann served as the former Board Chair of the Malden Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission from 2019-2020.  having served as a facilitator for a four-part workshop series on Unlearning to Relearn: Breaking Down Systemic Racism, using excerpts from Layla Saad’s book, “Me and White Supremacy: Combating Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor” for the 2021 Annual Malden Reads. In 2022, Bwann facilitated a management and non-management employee training workshop on microaggressions for the Boston Asylum Office Division of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently, Bwann serves as a member of the Racial Equity Commission for the City of Malden. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the McCallum School of Business at Bentley University. Additionally, Bwann is a doctoral student at University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education Organizational Change in Leadership program.

Sponsored by: AOHNS

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make When Conflict Surfaces, and How to Avoid Them | Penny Tremblay

Current mental health surveys of 2022 indicate that conflict in the workplace is a major source of distress. If you’re a manager or supervisor, you don’t want to make these common mistakes when conflict surfaces. Managing conflict in the workplace takes skills that we weren’t taught in school or technical training.  Learning outcomes from this workshop are:  Understand the manager’s role in workplace conflict     Knowledge of the five biggest mistakes that leaders make when conflict surfaces; and how to avoid them     How to manage pre-existing conflicts that are holding your team back from productivity     How to approach difficult conversations and raise concerns effectively     Benefits of coaching employees to resolve their own issues  The high cost of workplace conflict, stress and employee turnover is avoidable, and your energy can be used for better things.

About Penny Tremblay
Penny is a genuine entrepreneur. Founding the Tremblay Leadership Center, with relationship strategies training and keynotes internationally for 20+ years, thousands have benefitted with skills and confidence to be productive, play nice in the sandbox, and climb the ladder of success. Her Advanced Mediation certificate from Harvard combined with years of conflict resolution facilitation in workplaces brings stories, experiences, and guidance for productive, peaceful, and profitable business.

Sponsored by: Rockland Trust

2024 Employee Health & Benefit Trends: The Evolving Workforce | Liisa Holm

If you are a leader, employee or business owner, learn more about how talent acquisition and retention will weigh heavier on the evaluation of benefits solutions in the years to come.  Tomorrow’s workforce is looking for more than a benefits plan.  While predicting and responding to employee benefit trends and employee expectations can be difficult, this presentation will help to help make it easier.   We have broken out our trends report into four different areas:

Trend 1: 4 generations, 1 workforce

Trend 2: Better benefits, Better talent

Trend 3: Whole-person health is here to stay

Trend 4: Health care costs – the pressure is on


About Liisa Holm
Liisa is a heart centered, get it done, task master, no excuses, find a way and make it better, change maker who dreams big and shoots for the stars. She has spent the past 30 years building a fulfilling insurance career with long-term clients. She also uses her business knowledge and experience to educate others through speaking events and is a Certified Professional Leadership Coach that helps people make massive shifts to better align with their goals. Liisa is an Executive Vice President with the Employee Health & Benefits practice of Marsh McLennan Agency. Liisa joined the agency in 1996. With more than 30 years of experience, she is a senior resource and team manager who provides strategic advice and ensures that the team is meeting clients’ expectations.    Liisa served six years on the Board of Trustees for the YWCA of Central Massachusetts. She is a co-chair of the VNA Care Network Community Cabinet, a member of the Board of Corporators of North Brookfield Savings Bank. In addition, Liisa is a recipient of the Worcester Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” award and the Women’s Business Boston “Top 10 in Insurance” award.    In her spare time, she is passionate about volunteering and helping others. Liisa is a 10 year alumni of the Pan Mass challenge, 200 mile bicycle ride and has raised over $30,000 for Dana Faber and the Jimmy Fund.     Liisa is a Licensed Insurance Advisor (LIA) as well as a Group Benefits Disability Specialist (GBDS).   When Liisa is not consulting with clients, educating employees or doing speaking events she enjoys being in nature and on the water.

Sponsored by: Reliant Medical Group


Standing Your Ground: How to Create Boundaries and Maintain Relationships | Margo Foreman

Attendees will learn what are the signs that boundaries are not in place in their current relationships of importance. They examine why boundary setting is difficult for individuals, especially women in non-traditional roles or professionals. How to respond to triggers will be reviewed with the participants in order to help them prepare for the inevitable overstep that sometimes happens when working with others. The art of holding folks accountable is essential: Steps and examples of quick right-setting of boundaries that leave the door open for continued relationship will be shared. Utilizing dialogue skills, participants will have time to practice in small group skills they learned during the session.

 About Margo R. Foreman
Margo R. Foreman, MPH, Sr. CAAEP is dedicated to the development of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies to build and sustain a more inclusive and welcoming University engagement. She strives to accomplish this work through supporting excellence in teaching and learning, through the recruitment and retention of professionals who excel at advancing equity and social justice, and by promoting programs and culture shifts that lead to the development of student’s readiness to address global challenges. Margo has overseen all aspects of diversity and inclusion at the enterprise level. She is also a content expert relative to higher education equal opportunity compliance, affirmative action, discrimination and harassment, and Title IX programs. She has also developed numerous approaches to resolving diversity and inclusion programming and identity-based conflict resolution practices. Creating a welcoming environment for all students, staff, and faculty is her priority.

Sponsored by: VHB

Demystifying AI: Your Gateway to Immediate, User-Friendly Business Results | Delcie Bean

Whether you consider yourself a technologist or a technophobe, this session is tailored to demonstrate how AI can effortlessly blend with your current systems. Facilitated by Delcie Bean of Paragus IT, your friendly neighborhood MSP, we’ll show you how to kickstart your AI journey, showcasing how it can be seamlessly adopted to elevate daily tasks, without the usual fuss of heavy costs or steep learning curves! Be ready to transform the ordinary into extraordinary, all while enjoying a touch of humor and a heap of knowledge! It’s not just about keeping up with the times but leaping ahead.

About Delcie Bean
Since founding the company at the age of thirteen, Delcie Bean has transformed Paragus I.T. into one of the most successful, fastest-growing IT firms in the region. The company’s unique corporate culture and strategic approach to providing outsourced I.T. services to small-to-medium-sized businesses have earned many accolades, including Inc. Magazine’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing businesses and Forbes Magazine’s 25 Small Giants. As the company has grown, so has Delcie’s commitment to equality and inclusion. In 2014, he created Tech Foundry, an educational nonprofit designed to address the need for a skilled I.T. workforce by providing in-depth training for promising individuals from marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds. In 2016, Delcie began the process of transitioning Paragus to a 100% employee-owned company.

Today, Delcie is on a mission to grow Paragus into a $250 million firm with offices all throughout the country. In doing so, Delcie aims to create more than 100 employee-owner millionaires. Most recently, Paragus expanded into Central Massachusetts by acquiring Comportz Technologies and opening an office in downtown Worcester. When he isn’t at the helm of Paragus, Delcie is living the quiet life with his wife of 19 years and their three boys in southern NH, serving as a trustee of Bay Path University, and fulfilling his commitment to lifelong learning through his service to YPO.

Sponsored by: Open Sky

Create Your Foundation, Build Your Structure, and Become the Leader You Desire | Jody Staruk

Becoming a female project executive in construction is not an easy road. Jody will take you through her leadership journey and discuss the challenges she faced while making her way up the career ladder. She will discuss overcoming perceptions and doubt from others, advocating for herself, making tough decisions, keeping her confidence, and how to balance it all. These leadership lessons can be applied in any industry and will help you to navigate challenges during your journey.

About Jody Staruk
Jody Staruk has been an integral part of Consigli’s success, rising from Project Engineer to the company’s first female Project Executive in 2017. With over two decades of dedicated service, she has been instrumental in shaping and improving departmental operations and enhancing project efficiency. Jody oversees a wide spectrum of projects, both public and private, from fast-track renovations to new builds. Holding a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Jody’s expertise has been paramount to Consigli’s success. She resides in Holden, MA with her husband and two daughters.

Sponsored by: M&T Bank

Feeling Like Wonder Women: Women of Color Navigating Leadership Roles | Dr. Tita Feraud-King & Dr. Tomicka Wagstaff

Since the summer of 2020–known as the global protest on racial justice, there has been a wave of hiring for more diverse people in positions (see Bray, 2023). Yet, even with the increase in the diversity of leadership in the workforce, racial microaggression and discrimination still exist (Mainah & Perkins, 2015; Seo & Hinton, 2009). This session is led by Dr. Tomicka Wagstaff and Dr. Tita Feraud-King, from the College of the Holy Cross’ Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on the ways in which women of color navigate leadership roles in higher education. This session will discuss tips and tricks to navigate a hostile environment while maintaining professionalism and authenticity.

About Our Presenters
Dr. Tomicka Wagstaff is the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at College of the Holy Cross. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Buffalo State College and her Ed.D in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester. Dr. Wagstaff has been in the Higher Ed field for well over 20 years working in areas such as Multicultural Affairs, Residential Life, Conduct, Grants, Orientation, Financial Aid and TRiO. She is a board member and district representative for the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education and a member of the Council of Education. Dr. Tita Feraud-King is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Faculty and Staff. Dr. Feraud-King earned her Ph.D. in higher education and a certificate in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A Worcester native, she received her bachelor of arts from the College of the Holy Cross and her master’s from the University of Pennsylvania.   Dr. Feraud-King’s research focus is on higher education’s lack of inclusion and access for students and staff of marginalized identities and the intersection of marginalized identities. She has over fifteen years of experience conducting workshops, public speaking, and community organizing.

Sponsored by: Saint Gobain



#WWLC Memories

Thank You To Our 2024 Sponsors

2024 Presenting Sponsors

Keynote Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Lunch Sponsor

Gift Sponsor

Women’s Wellness Corner

Networking Sponsor

Scholarship Sponsor

Mentor Sponsors

Morning Break Sponsor

Breakout Session Sponsors

Afternoon Break Sponsors

Media Sponsor

Benefitting Charity Sponsor


2025 PRICING  |  Chamber Members GA: $250  |  Non-Members GA: $300

   Member Reserved seating for 10 (Ten attendees): $3,000  

Non-Member Reserved seating for 10: $3,700 



DCU Center, 50 Foster Street, Worcester

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