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Thomas More University’s second annual Women’s Conference draws audience from across region

Ringing in Women’s History Month, Thomas More University held its second annual Women’s Conference last week.

This year’s theme, Women Who Innovate, brought together an audience from across the tri-state area to celebrate and recognize the contributions of women through four keynote speakers and a discussion panel.

Jeni Al Bahrani, inaugural director of Thomas More’s Dr. Anthony and Geraldine Zembrodt Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, gave the welcoming keynote. Al Bahrani is an advocate for empowering people to create their own lane of opportunity through the increase of access to entrepreneurship, which leads to creating programs and experiences on campus and in the community.

The second annual Thomas More Women’s Conference, Women Who Innovate, was held on Friday, March 3. (Photo from TMU)

“No matter what I’m building, no matter what you’re building, no matter what your organization is building, you can’t do it alone,” Al Bahrani said. “That’s why I love that we’re all here today together. We can reach across the table, find some connections, shake things up, figure out what we can innovate together, and lift as we rise.”

D. Lynn Meyer, producing artistic director at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, who has directed over 100 world and regional premiers throughout the U.S. and Canada during her career also presented examples from her career during the conference. Meyer is a member of the Casting Society of America, having cast for PBS, CBS, BBC, HBO, MTM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, and MGM.

“There’s absolutely nothing you can’t do,” Meyer said. “You’re the only one that knows your capabilities. Don’t give them any doubt. There are enough people out there that will doubt you, so don’t doubt yourself.”

Suzanne Francis, current medical liaison for Novo Nordisk and former manager of Ambulatory Clinical Pharmacy at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, shifted the day’s focus to innovation in healthcare. A pioneer in the pharmacy field, Francis expanded the scope of the anticoagulation clinics, now called Medication Management Clinics, and began immunization services at St. Elizabeth outpatient pharmacies. Francis also started a second-year pharmacy residency program, where she served as director until February 2023.

Judith Marlowe, Ph.D., chair of the Thomas More Board of Trustees, continued the theme of innovation by moderating a panel during the lunch hour. Marlowe welcomed Vashti Chatman, global chief human resources officer at Big Village, Kim Halbauer, president of the Kentucky Region at Fifth Third Bank, and Sue Ellen Stuebing, vice president and CDO at CET/ThinkTV. The women shared their professional experiences leading to leadership roles.

The day’s final session led by Jill Morenz, CEO of Aviatra Accelerators, brought the conversation back to innovation in entrepreneurship. With nearly 10 years of non-profit experience and 20 years as an entrepreneur, Morenz has created two businesses during her career and leverages those insights in her current role. At Aviatra she works with female entrepreneurs, setting them up for business success.

The date for TMU’s 2024 Women’s Conference will be announced soon.

For more information about Thomas More University, visit www.thomasmore.edu.

Thomas More University

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