Kent State’s College of Business Administration to Host Sixth Annual Spirit of Women in Business Conference

Kent State University’s College of Business Administration will host its sixth annual Spirit of Women in Business Conference, titled “Navigating and Negotiating” on March 9 at the Kent Student Center.

Photo of Deborah KolbThe conference has sold out the past three years, bringing together women from diverse professional backgrounds. Last year, more than 300 business professionals, along with undergraduate and graduate students from Northeast Ohio and beyond, attended the event.

The daylong conference will be emceed by Vivian Goodman from WKSU, and includes a 60-minute keynote speech and Q&A by Deborah Kolb, Ph.D., renowned expert in negotiation, leadership and gender.

Kolb is former executive director and currently co-director of the Negotiations in the Workplace Project at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. She is the Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Professor for Women in Leadership (Emerita) and co-founder of the Ford Foundation-funded Center for Gender in Organizations at Simmons College School of Management.

Kolb’s presentation is based off her book Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins Into Big Gains, which was named one of the best negotiation books of 2015 by TIME Magazine and will be available for purchase during the book signing period at the conference. Her book can be applied to both men and women, but she will be specifically addressing how negotiation at work can successfully impact women at this year’s Spirit of Women in Business Conference.

The conference also includes a Spirit of Women in Business Award Presentation given to a Kent State business alumna who excels in her profession, paving the way for women in business. This year’s recipient is Kathy McElligott, executive vice president, chief information officer and chief technology officer of McKesson Corporation. McElligott holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Kent State and a master’s degree in business management from Xavier University.

Three breakout sessions are included in the conference with topics such as:

  • “Lean In: Tactical Solutions for Success” with Lisa Waite, owner and president of Waite Communication and Professional Development LLC. Waite holds a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Akron and CST Master Certifier status from Barry-Wehmiller University. Her expertise is in developing people-centric leaders and transforming organizational culture. Working with entry-level to C-level staff, her sessions carve a path to develop employees at every level leading to sustainable change. With a dynamic style, Waite also is active in individual coaching and sharing her compelling message with special event audiences.
  • “Networking: Beyond Your Bubble” with Kim Riley, president of Hylant Nashville. In her more than 30 years of experience as a business leader in the insurance and risk management fields, Riley has been the youngest female officer appointed by the board of directors, has driven revenue and client profitability into the billions, pioneered technology solutions that changed the insurance industry from paper to data-driven flow, and has been awarded multiple honors for networking and influence. As a professional speaker, her diverse leadership roles provide value and her keynote speeches are presented to the audience with wonderful spirit, southern charm and wit. Audiences always relate to Riley’s story and are engaged by her dynamic speaking style.

Three sessions are with full panels of speakers, including “Career Imperfections: How to Brave the Corporate Ladder” with the Penske panel, “Leadership Success Strategies: Second-Generation Gender Bias” with the Executive MBA panel and “How Women Are Transforming the World: The Socially-Conscious Economy and Feminine Values” with the Ursuline College panel. Attendees also have the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Kolb during the “Discussion With the Keynote” session.

Two topics are offered during each session time, where attendees choose the one that most interests them.

“We are extremely excited about the successful and motivational women participating at this year’s Spirit of Women in Business Conference,” said Deborah F. Spake, dean of Kent State’s College of Business Administration. “Not only do we have an experienced and captivating keynote speaker, but we also have session speakers who bring knowledge from all areas of the professional realm.”

For more information about the sixth annual Spirit of Women in Business Conference and to register, visit


Photo Caption:
Renowned expert in negotiation, leadership and gender, Deborah Kolb, will serve as the keynote speaker for Kent State’s 2016 Spirit of Women in Business Conference on March 9, 2016, at the Kent Student Center. Kolb co-directs the Negotiations in the Workplace Project at Harvard Law School.

Media Contacts:
Michelle Manning,, 330-672-8582
Kristin Anderson,, 330-672-7907


POSTED: Monday, February 29, 2016 03:27 PM
Updated: Monday, February 29, 2016 03:33 PM
Kristin Anderson