W.I.L.D. Conference Provides Networking, Mentorship - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

W.I.L.D. Conference Provides Networking, Mentorship

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Things got a little wild today at the Bayfront Convention Center.

The Women in Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) conference was back for its sixth year.

Over 500 women attended the event, and don't let the animal print all around fool you; the wild conference was some serious business.

It was "A day of leadership, a day of networking a day of professional development," said organizer Maggie Horne. She works with Gannon's Small Business Development Center, which hosts the event each year. 

In addition to promoting rising leaders, the conference honored established leaders in our community.

Dr. Maureen barber-Carey was the recipient of the W.I.L.D. Legacy Award.

"I was very excited to receive the award," she said. "Throughout my career I've believed that mentoring is a key role. You don't just do a job, you need to mentor other women who can follow in your footsteps."

She's a mentor and leader not only for business women, or even just women in Erie. She blogs about autism to readers in 30 countries.

"Last year I began my blog All About Autism, BNI," she said. "I just view that I'm now able to reach out internationally and help women with children on the spectrum."

Athena International founder and business owner Martha Mertz was one of the featured speakers.

Her foundation has been promoting female leadership for over three decades.

"My main point today was we are within reach of achieving a balance in the voices of leadership, it is in front of us," Mertz said. "All of the women at the conference and all of the people that they will influence are part of moving us to get there."

The keynote speakers covered broader topics, but the breakout sessions gave women the chance to meet in smaller groups to focus on more personalized topics that matter to their individual business.

"With the three breakout session tracks- women business owner entrepreneur, executive leadership, and rising leaders- whatever category you find yourself to be those sessions are tailored to help you," said Horne. 

This year the W.I.L.D. Conference benefited the Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania.

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