Skip to content

Women's Center conference aims to 'Connect and Elevate'

April 6 event also will debut rebranding efforts for organization

“Connect and Elevate,” the theme of the Women’s Center’s upcoming 2024 Leadership Conference, will take aim at the isolation that afflicts many people and limits their potential.

“We’re talking about striving to cultivate a broader range of human connections,” said CEO and executive director Rachna Krishnan. “When we do that, we elevate our ability to engage empathetically and effectively and contribute meaningfully in our communications, whether at home or at work.”

This year’s event, to be held April 6 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, is especially significant to the organization, because the Women’s Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The organization’s leaders will launch their new brand at the conference, complete with a different logo, color scheme and imagery, Krishnan said.

“Our name is staying the same, but we’ll have new everything else,” she said.

The conference not only is for go-getters – that goes without saying – but also early-risers. Attendees can check in at registration as early as 7 a.m. and the event will start promptly at 8 a.m., a half-hour earlier than in past years.

The first part of the conference, between 8 and 10:35 a.m., will feature keynote speeches by Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, and Julie Vida, vice president of growth (defense) at ManTech.

There also will be a panel discussion on women in sports, featuring Amanda Duffy, who leads all operations of the Orlando Pride professional women’s soccer team, and Greg Baroni, founder and CEO of consulting firm Attain Enterprises.

From 10:35 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., there will be multiple offerings. An invitation-only leadership forum will tackle the topic of “Listening Circles: Fostering Respect Amongst Diverse Perspectives.”

This time period also will offer attendees a selection of concurrent sessions, including:

• Angela Mitchell & Shani Hosten: “Creating an Inclusive Culture and Community.”

• Courtney Lynch: “Bet on You: How to Win with Risk.”

• Cristine Gollayan: “Get Up, Show Up, Lift Up.”

• Faith Boettger: “Mobilize Your Superpowers for Good! How to Connect and Elevate While Making a Difference.”

• Jothi Dugar: “Mindful Leadership: Harnessing Chaos to Achieve Well-Being.”

• Kate Ebner: “Stepping Up as a Leader: A New Paradigm for Success.”

Following lunch from 12:25 to 1:15 p.m., there will be keynote addresses by Elyce Erons (“Beyond the Seams: A Journey of Friendship, Reinvention and Resilience”) and Janine Driver (“Using Body Language to Increase Results, Influence Others & Get What You Want”). Arons is founder and CEO of luxury apparel and accessories company Frances Valentine; Driver is an author and CEO of the Body Language Institute.

The afternoon session also will have a panel discussion with Shankar Vedantum, host and executive editor of the Hidden Brain podcast and radio show, and Women’s Center board member Jasmin El Kordi.

Book signings and an assortment of vendors, including ones selling clothing and jewelry, will round out the event.

Tickets cost $286 (including credit-card fee) and can be purchased through March 29. Sponsorships also are available.

The Women’s Center last year moved from its longtime offices in Vienna to a new location in Tysons.

The new digs are “wonderful,” Krishnan said. “Our new building is so much more modern. We have an elevator, so it’s much more accessible. We have more windows, so there’s more light. It’s a lot better.”

The group’s final suite still is being built out. The organization hopes to move into that space this summer.

For more information about the organization and its leadership conference, visit