Skip to content

Women’s Leadership Network hosting second Metro East event

A cadre of female executive presenters will headline The “W” Network’s Metro East Women’s Leadership Summit being held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Morris University Center.

The premiere event of The “W” Network of Downstate Illinois, an education and network-building organization where women leaders can engage and support each other, will feature two prominent female executives from the St. Louis region as guest speakers.

The presenters are Danna N. Ellison, district vice president of Graybar, and Kay Guse, director of Program Management Integration at The Boeing Company.
“I look forward to sharing my career experiences with the women of the “W” Network,” Ellison said. “I hope to provide valuable insight to other female leaders in the region.”

Silvia Torres Bowman, director of SIUE’s International Trade Center, and Sherry Brianza, president/founder of Brianza Sales & Marketing Inc. and Brianza Bella LLC, are heading the “W” Network event. Torres Bowman continues to lay the groundwork for the initiative and invites women executives and entrepreneurs to take part.

“We are excited to expand our professional knowledge through Ellison and Guse’s presentations,” Torres Bowman said. “These two inspiring regional leaders will share their knowledge of their respective fields as well as their thoughts on leadership and the significant role of women in the advancement of our society.”
Guse will expand on her 20-plus years of mentoring engineering professionals during her nearly 30 years at Boeing.

“Often there are young women – and men – looking to connect with each other and a mentor on the types of experiences they may be going through,” said Guse, an alumnus of the SIUE industrial engineering program and an inductee into the SIUE Hall of Fame. “I see the need for people to connect. In sharing information and passing along ideas, we learn from each other. Through this process, we’re able to train, guide and develop a pipeline of future leaders. Silvia Torres Bowman is a dynamic person and has put a lot of passion into this women’s leadership initiative, because she truly believes in it and sees the value,” she added.

“The main goal of The ‘W’ Network is to enlighten, inspire and reenergize strong and bright women with new tools, information and visions on how we can make our businesses, communities and our state soar,” Brianza said. “Illinois needs and deserves wise women working wonders.”
The “W” Network’s mission is to facilitate an open space and motivating dialogue for women who are not only excelling in their fields, but are powerful and positive in their efforts to give back to their respective communities.

The types of women that The “W” Network is seeking to attract, Brianza said, are leaders who truly make a difference by quietly doing their work. “They’re not about the title or the recognition,” she said. “They commit to a mission, find the time and make it happen.”

The event is funded through the generosity of the SIUE Meridian Society, which awarded The “W” Network a $1,000 grant for outstanding community outreach.

“We’re grateful to the Meridian Society for its generous support of the professional network we are actively building for women across the Metro East,” said Torres Bowman. “The Meridian Society’s goal of providing leadership through philanthropy matches perfectly with The ‘W’ Network’s mission to inspire and support women in all professional walks of life.”

For more information on The “W” Network or to register for the event, contact Torres Bowman at or (618) 650-3851. You can also visit the ITC’s website at to download a flyer.

There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited and registration is required.

The July 13 event is the second in a series for professional women and female leaders who are making a difference in their communities in downstate Illinois.

Whether a business owner, entrepreneur, professional business woman or community leader, female leaders will benefit from attending this networking event.
The International Trade Center at SIUE serves businesses in Southern Illinois by providing individualized, export consultation to Illinois businesses; identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads; international market analysis and more.

The ITC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It has a longtime partnership with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, which maintains a full-time staff of both foreign and domestic-based international trade and marketing experts. OTI also manages 10 foreign trade offices located in Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Mexico, Canada, Israel, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Leave a Comment