published on September 20, 2016 - 7:33 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
More than 3,500 Central Valley women gathered in Downtown Fresno Tuesday for the annual Central California Women’s Conference.

The sold-out event featured keynote speaker Lisa Ling, warm-up speaker Pagine Echevarria, cool down speaker Kat Simmons, and 21 inspiring and informative breakout session speakers, all tackling this year’s theme, #nolimits.

During a morning VIP session, Ling briefly discussed her life as an international correspondent, sexism in the industry, being a mom to two daughters, and how she and her family have adjusted since her sister and fellow journalist Laura Ling was held captive in North Korea.  

“I think things are changing; women are now raising their voices where they hadn’t been able to before,” Ling said in response to an audience question about whether she’s experienced sexism in her field. “I’ve certainly been in situations where I’ve worked on a show or have been part of a show that has done as well as my male counterparts, and didn’t get the press, the marketing dollars or even opportunities that the male counterparts did. So yes, sexism still exists, but the more women who are conscious of it, and men as well, who raise their voices, the more things will change.”

Topics covered in various sold-out session held throughout the day included career development, health and fitness, money and finance, family and parenting, spirituality and courage, service and activism, and strength and change.

Jan Edwards, the director of marketing and development, said conference speakers are among the best the CCWC has ever had.

“This year’s speaker line-up could be the best in our 29-year history,” she said. “Where can you hear a former gang member make you laugh and cry while sharing how she achieved the pinnacle of success as a motivational speaker? Only at CCWC 2016.”

In addition to the luncheon and breakout sessions, sold-out crowd also had the opportunity to visit a conference marketplace and community corner featuring more than 175 businesses and nonprofits, sharing information about their products and services.

To date, the CCWC has donated $800,000 to Valley community organizations that support women and children. This year alone, $100,000 has been donated to 62 non-profit organizations.

This year’s CCWC sponsors include Wells Fargo, The Fresno Bee, ABC 30, Community Medical Centers, Granville Homes, Saint Agnes Medical Center, Valley Children’s Healthcare, Macy’s, Fresno State, AT&T, Cumulus Media, Chick-fil-A, Univision Radio, Pepsi, Fresno Trade Bindery, The Brownie Baker, Macias Dermatology, Lennar New Homes, Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, PG&E and Fresno Smile Makeover.

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