The Women’s Center will hold its 34th annual Leadership Conference on March 14 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner.

Center leaders chose “Ready, Reach, Rise” for this year’s conference theme. The idea is for speakers to share stories about what they did to get ready for higher-level jobs,  said Rachna Krishnan, The Women’s Center’s new CEO and executive director.

“It’s about the leadership journey,” she said. “The road to leadership is bumpy and curvy, and each person’s journey is different. There are so many challenges and barriers along the way. It’s great to hear how others have managed and thrived.”

The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration, a continental breakfast, goods and information offered by vendors and exhibitors, and the opening of the day’s raffle.

Jasmin El Kordi will make opening remarks at 8:30 a.m., which will be followed by a keynote speech from retired U.S. Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the first woman to become a four-star Navy admiral and first African-American woman to command a Navy vessel, the USS Rushmore.

Next will be a discussion, “Writing Your Own Story: Pathways to Leadership,” featuring panelists Kathy Albarado, CEO of Helios HR; Kristen Meizner, a podcast host and author; Rose Previte, owner of Compass Rose and Maydan Restaurants. Patrice D’Eramo will moderate the discussion.

The panelists, who represent a wide range of age groups, have started their own businesses, said Ann McNerney, The Women’s Center’s development director.

Following a break at 10:10 a.m., conference attendees may attend two of six concurrent sessions that will be repeated from 10:40 to 11:25 a.m. and 11:35 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. This year’s sessions include:

• “Creating Trust to Lead: Why Courageous Leadership Requires Wholehearted Connections,” presented by Karen deLacy.

• “BOLD Business Storytelling,” presented by Jan Fox.

• “Interpersonal Connections for Success,” presented by Tina Fox.

• “Rising Above Your Fears and Embracing Your Passion, Purpose and Power!” presented by L. Y. Marlow.

• “Communicating Your Potential Through Personal Branding,” presented by Kim Wensel.

• “Working with Purpose in your Second Act,” presented by Kourtney Whitehead.

Depending on their levels of sponsorship, qualifying attendees instead may choose to attend from 10:40 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. a leadership forum titled “Managing a Multi-generational Workforce: A Diversity Conversation.”

The concurrent sessions and leadership forum will be followed by a break at 12:20 p.m. and lunch at 12:35 p.m.

The conference will resume at 1:15 p.m. with Krishnan telling a story of one of the organization’s clients. The conference will be a new experience for Krishnan, who took the helm Jan. 21.

“Several friends have been to this conference, and they said it was just amazing,” Krishnan said. “They told me it was energizing and so motivational and inspiring.”

This will be followed by a speech from Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of Alliance of Community Health Plans, and an afternoon panel discussion, “Conversations with Inspirational Leaders.”

After organizers conduct the raffle and make closing remarks, there will be a networking happy hour from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s conference also will feature an area, staffed by Bards Alley book shop in Vienna, where authors participating in the event can sign their books.

Tickets are $195 and sponsorship packages are available. For more information, see the Website at

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