Empowerment, support goal of 4th annual Women’s Conference at OUS-Proctorville

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Empowering women to achieve greatness and supporting one another’s goals has been and remains the cornerstone of the annual Women’s Conference at Ohio University Southern.

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 conference will be 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at the OUS Proctorville Center.

Keynote speaker will be Lawrence County native and current President and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachia Ohio Cara Dingus Brook.

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“I’m really excited about speaking at the conference,” Brook said. “This is a chance for women of all ages – from high school to in their 80s – to support each other. I’m glad I get to come home and spend some time with the ladies in the community.”

Brook has a long record of service to the region. Before joining the FAO, she was the Southeast Ohio District Representative for United States Sen. George V. Voinovich and manager of Appalachian Ohio Giving, a multisector partnership promoting philanthropy as a community and economic development tool.

“Growing up I had a South Point address, Chesapeake phone number, went to Dawson-Bryant schools until junior high and then graduated from Ironton,” Brook said. “It’s a real honor and I’m humbled I was asked to speak. This conference is a chance for all women to strengthen ourselves; to recharge and go back out and keep making differences in the community.”

Ohio University, Brook’s alma mater where she received a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in English, has recognized her commitment to and accomplishments in Appalachian Ohio and philanthropy repeatedly. She was the recipient of the Appalachian New Economy Partnership Award for Regional Economic Development from the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs in 2010 and the Young Alumni “Spirit” Award from Ohio University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, recognizing her public service contributions. She is also a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute and received Philanthropy Ohio’s Emerging Philanthropist Award in 2013.

Now a resident of Logan where she lives with her husband, Dominick, Brook is a cancer survivor, an avid traveler, a hiker, a reader and a church deacon.

OUS Associate Professor of Psychology Kristi Barnes described the conference as a chance for women to strengthen women.

“We have a great group of ladies from the community,” she said. “We’re excited to have (OUS Marketing and Public Information Officer) Shelly Betz on board helping us this year. We have been able to expand the variety of sessions we offer and empower women in a variety of roles. This is a chance for women to celebrate women in a relaxed environment.”

Barnes is co-coordinator of the event along with the Stephanie Burcham, director of the Proctorville Center, and Dr. Miki Crawford, OUS communication professor.

“We are fortunate to have the women we do on this committee,” Barnes said. “The resources they provide are invaluable.”

The conference features 12 sessions such as Your Estate Matters, Meaningful You, Dress for Success, Women and Wellness, Community Gardens, Top-10 Tri-State Must Dos, Tri-State Day Trips, Minding Your Manners and more. Deadline for registration is this Friday. To register, call 740-886-7655 or register online at www.southern.ohiou.edu/proctorville/womens-conference/. Cost is $30 per person, $20 for students. Lunch is provided.

The event is sponsored by St. Mary’s Medical Center, Ohio University Alumni Association, Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, The Tribune, Citizens Deposit Bank, TCR 103.3, Marathon and KEE 100 FM.