Taking a path less traveled, using your personality to your advantage and saying goodbye to burnout were three of the major topics discussed at the Terre Haute Women’s Conference held on Friday, March 17, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC). The conference is presented annually by the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.
Kristin Craig, executive director of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, opened the conference, “This year marks the fifth Terre Haute Women’s Conference. Today, we have one of our largest crowds with nearly 200 participants,” said Craig.
Janet Clark, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at SMWC, offered a welcome address to all participants for the conference. “The College is happy to host the Terre Haute Women’s Conference as our legacy as a women’s college helps us remember to celebrate women and help move women forward and allow them to find their voice.”
The theme of this year’s conference was Rise Up. Live speakers, including Jennifer Merrell, owner of Uncharted, LLC, Becky Anders, owner of Flannel Rose Boutique and Petals and Jill O’Boyle, founder of Jill O’Boyle Communications, LLC, inspired the gathered women from the Wabash Valley to embrace the obstacles life can present and continue to move forward.
Jennifer Merrell opened the conference in a segment titled, Taking an Uncharted Path. she began her presentation by sharing a story about her family’s annual hiking trip. When she and her family got lost, her father moved them all forward, “he was our trail marker, moving us forward until we made it through the woods safely,” Merrell explained. In addition to her journey, Merrell explained that life can often take you down an uncharted path and how such experiences can build leadership skills. “In life, sometimes it is up to us to be the trail marker for others,” she shared with all participants.
The McMahon Ballroom was filled with energy and conversation as Becky Anders held an interactive session, Using Your Personality to Your Advantage, where participants learned about their personalities through a color test. In doing this, participants rated different characteristics, totaled up their results and discovered what color they were. Each color represented different character and personality types. “I think this color test is a good idea to do every few years. Take it to work, use it at home, use it for your kids… Using it in the workplace to find what clicks between you and your colleagues can be valuable,” Anders told the crowd.
Jill O’Boyle concluded the conference with a presentation titled, Goodbye Burnout, Hello Life. O’Boyle shared personal experiences and tips on preventing burnout and living life to the fullest. “Unsubscribe from the hustle mentality. Our world has made us glamorize how busy we are. Each one of us can and probably has experienced burnout.” In addition to three main focuses in her presentation, O’Boyle encouraged participants to stop overworking and put themselves and a work-life balance first. “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing. Take the next step and rise up!” O’Boyle shared in her closing.
During the conference, Jane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation, was also honored with the 2023 Women’s Excellence in Leadership Award. The award recognizes a woman who has distinguished herself in her profession, workplace and community. The award has been sponsored by SMWC since its inception in 2021. In her acceptance speech, Nichols said, “I’m shocked and very humbled to receive this award. Thank you so much.”
In addition to the in-person speakers at the conference, virtual sessions were also pre-recorded and are available online for participants to watch. Virtual guest speakers included Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Amy Demchak, owner of Working On It, LLC, Melissa Griffin, owner of Blue Griffin Photography and Morgan Wilson, owner of Phoenix Elite Gym.
Sponsors for the event included:
- Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
- Petals By Flannel Rose Boutique
- BOCO Collective Marketing
- Providence HealthCare
- Indiana State University
- First Farmers Bank and Trust
- Sisters of Providence
- TBM Building Services