Women participants empowered during annual leadership conference BY NOAH SLOWIK

Photo by Kelly Kolton.

Peg Monteagudo delivers her presentation to the women attendees.

Lewis’ fourth annual Celebrating Women in Leadership Conference took place Saturday, Oct. 28 at St. Charles Borromeo. Over 100 students, alumni and community members came out to the eight hour long conference. The women who attended the events took part in an afternoon full of professional development, network opportunities and self-improvement.


Director of Alumni Engagement, Dennisa Walker, organized and coordinated the conference. As a representative of the department of university advancement, Walker’s goal was to “empower students, alumni and community members alike to become better business leaders and family members.”


The conference featured speeches and presentations on various topics from 13 different women alumni. Keynote speakers this year were state representatives Natalie Manley and Mary Lancaster, hosts of WJOL radio’s “Friday Mornings with Lynne, Mary & Natalie.” Manley and Lancaster’s presentation “Don’t Pull Up the Ladder: How Women Can Give Other Women a Hand Up in the Professional World,” dealt with how women leaders have a special obligation to help other women leaders succeed.


Samantha De Legge-Stevenson, who currently holds five national group fitness certifications and teaches over 10 fitness-oriented classes at Lewis, delivered her presentation “Staying Healthy and Fit on a Busy Schedule,” highlighting the health and wellness aspect of the conference.


“At the end of the day, I hope to see these different groups of women leaving here more motivated and empowered to succeed in their daily lives,” De Legge-Stevenson said, hoping those who attended the conference have the potential to see their lives improve in ways they never imagined.


In addition to the presentations, the women who attended received a list of books recommended by the speakers to continue their professional development and networking. Attendees were also encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #LewisUWomen2017.


For any and all information about the conference, contact the office of alumni relations at or (815) 836-5882. To find details about this year’s events, visit


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