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‘Investing in Women’ conference planned in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, today announced that he will play host to an inaugural women’s event entitled, “Investing in Women,” at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign.

“Women throughout the U.S. drive the success of our nation by investing in our families, our workforce and our economy,” said Davis. “This event is about helping women connect and invest in each other through shared stories of finding and embracing their passions, overcoming life’s challenges, and achieving success in their various fields.”

The event will feature a keynote session and two breakout sessions. The keynote speakers will be:

– Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight counties throughout Central Indiana. Before joining Congress, Susan served as senior vice president/general counsel for Ivy Tech Community College and prior to that she was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana by President George W. Bush in 2001.

– Phyllis M. Wise: Phyllis M. Wise, who serves as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

– Loretto Kennedy, a principal with Chuhak & Tecson and focuses her practice on litigation as well as helping corporations and start-ups with business planning, risk management, corporate formation and contract negotiation. Loretto is also a founding member of the firm’s Women Helping Women initiative, which integrates business development with philanthropy.

– Cynthia Bruno, the WCIA Channel 3 Morning Show news anchor. Her work has been honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press. Outside of the newsroom, she sits on the board for Champaign County’s United Way and is involved in the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana.

Prior to the keynote session, attendees will be invited to attend one of two breakout Sessions. Those sessions will be:

– Growing your Network by Laura Weisskopf Bleill, who found it difficult for both stay-at-home moms and working moms to connect with the outside world after moving to a new community and becoming a mom. After a career in journalism and dabbling in blogging, she created a digital meeting place for Champaign-Urbana moms, During this breakout session Laura will share her Chambamamoms story and how she built her network from zero to hero. She will moderate a panel of leading women who have successfully created their own networks to set up opportunities for themselves and others.

– Start-up Your Greatness by Rachael Pullen and Monica Genta. They are teachers, coaches, running partners and friends. During this session, they will share their personal struggles with body image and the changes they went through as they stepped out of their comfort zones and onto the pavement. They will discuss how social, emotional, and physical strength can work together to help you enjoy life.

The schedule of events for the day is:

8:30 a.m.: Registration
9 a.m.: Welcome from Congressman Rodney Davis
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Start-up Your Greatness OR Growing Your Network
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Keynote Session

The event is free but registration is required. For questions or to register, contact Jen White by calling (217) 403-4690 or emailing

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