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'Intentoniality' to be theme of Women's Center leadership event

Annual conference stretches back nearly 30 years

Instead of drifting through life and taking what comes, speakers at The Women’s Center’s 37th annual Leadership Conference will encourage attendees to develop action plans tailored to their interests and goals.

This year’s theme, “Moving Forward with Intentionality,” is “grounded in the idea of moving forward with purpose and being our best selves as we navigate the post-pandemic world,” said Nissi Thapa, the center’s communications coordinator. “These concepts resonate with anyone who wants deeper meaning in their career and personal lives, and is seeking the tools to make that happen.”

Speakers will touch on purposefully advancing one’s career, creating a work culture that supports growth, discovering what’s most important in one’s life, balancing one’s life and creating an action plan for doing things differently.

“Our speakers have been carefully selected to convey inspirational and thought-provoking messages that will capture the interest of our audience,”  Thapa said.

The event will be held at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program will kick off an hour later with a speech, “The 5 Pillars of An Intentional Life,” by entrepreneur and author Marissa Levin.

This will be followed by a panel discussion, “How Can Women in Technology be Intentional?”, featuring Hilary Hageman, executive vice president of SAIC; Aimee Bechtle, chief technology officer for Boeing, and Karla Gill, chief technology officer for Momentus Capital. The discussion will be moderated by Melanie Condron, Accenture’s global legal lead on artificial intelligence and data management.

The next keynote speech will be “Intentional Culture,” by Unanet founder Fran Craig. Conference attendees then will have the choice of two of the following breakout sessions:

• “Conflict Management,” by Laura Bowles, founder of The New Normal LLC.

• “Women’s Health,” by Kristin DiDomenico, an author, speaker and fitness trainer.

• “Intentionally Raising Teens,” by Cam Caswell, family coach and owner of “Dr. Cam Consulting LLC.”

• “Mentorship/Sponsorship,” by Susan Mitchell, founder/CEO of Athari Bio+Sciences, and Jim Peake, senior vice president of CGI Federal.

• “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” by Avanti Patel, senior vice president of Octo, an IBM company.

• “Social-Media Selling,” by Samantha McKenna, sales expert and CEO of #samsales Consulting.

Occurring at the same time as the breakout sessions, but by invitation only, will be a leadership forum focusing on  “Post-Pandemic Challenges: Quiet Quitting, Employee Engagement and Team Culture.” The discussion, to be moderated by Renee Wynn, CEO of RP Wynn Consulting LLC, will feature panelists Janet Mackey, diversity, equity and inclusion leader for EY; and Pam Krulitz, founder/CEO of Optify.

After lunch, Kristina Bouweiri, president and CEO of Reston Limousine, will give a speech titled “Intentionally Building a Business.”

This will be followed by the closing keynote speech, “Time to Thrive: How to Build Your Dream Life,” by Loren Lahav, an international speaker, author and transformation coach.

As in past years, the event will feature vendors offering a variety of wares. And at 3 p.m., there will be a networking happy hour.

During the past two post-pandemic years, people have become much more thoughtful and intentional about their goals, lives and sense of purpose, Rachna Krishnan, The Women’s Center’s CEO and executive director.

The annual conference is “always such an invigorating day,” she said. “I always walk away from these with a couple of things that I can do differently or better. These speakers have so much life experience, so much that they can share with us.”

Individual tickets are $250. For more information and to buy tickets, visit

The Women’s Center, which will need to find a new location this year because its longtime Vienna office site is being replaced by a residential development, is revamping its career and financial-planning services and its workshops. The center’s core functions still remain in high demand, Krishnan added.

“There is a lot of need in the community, for our mental-health-counseling services, as well as our domestic-violence and sexual-assault advocacy services,”  she said. “There was a lot of need even before COVID, but I think everyone knows that the need has just grown exponentially since.”