Leadership Summit

March 1, 2018

Why Lizzie?

Every June at the Ignite Women’s Leadership Summit, a deserving woman becomes the recipient of the Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award, or The Lizzie.  Who is Lizzie French and why is there an award named for her?

Residents of East Tennessee may be familiar with the Woman Suffrage Memorial on Knoxville’s Market Square. The statue is three women suffragists, one for each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions. Lizzie, a Knoxville native, represents East Tennessee and stands at the front of the statue.

Lizzie was born in 1851 and grew up with four sisters and in a house filled with books. Her politician father encouraged his daughters to read, to be educated, and to speak up.  When Lizzie was 21, she married William French. They had a son, also named William, but within 18 months of their marriage, Lizzie became a widow and single mother.  She never remarried.

Neither that great loss, or the challenge of being a single mother, stopped Lizzie.  She was a woman who saw a need and filled it, saw injustice and challenged it. Throughout her life, Lizzie broke barriers, exemplified great courage, and became a woman of “firsts.” The Lizzie is designed to commemorate her courage, her activism, and her determination.

Lizzie traveled a lot, gathering ideas for reform and improvement. In her mid 30s, she established the Ossoli Circle, a literary and charitable organization that was also Tennessee’s first women’s club. Around the same time, she and her sisters reopened the East Tennessee Female Institute where she served as principal for five years. When the Institute lost its lease, Lizzie refocused her energies into political activism.

Between 1889 and 1892, Lizzie led the successful charge to make the University of Tennessee a co-ed institution. She also established the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, whose goal was to promote social reform. That group advocated for the City of Knoxville to name a police matron to oversee female inmates and keep them separate from male inmates.  As an advocate for this reform, Lizzie became the first woman to speak before the City Council. The outcome was that Knoxville was the first city in the South to create this position. Later, Lizzie stepped before the Tennessee General Assembly (the first woman to do so) to successfully advocate for a separate prison for women and children.

In 1912, as the first woman to address the Tennessee Bar Association, Lizzie gave a fiery speech challenging the state’s legal bias toward women. She was extremely active in the suffrage movement and served as president of the Tennessee Suffrage Association, leading women to write letters-to the editor of newspapers across the state. In 1923, three years after women won the right to vote, Lizzie became the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council, but she was not successful.

When she was 75-years-old, Lizzie travelled to Washington D.C. with a two-fold purpose. One was to ensure that a bill supporting working women was introduced to Congress. The other was to help furnish a Tennessee Room for the National Women’s Party. Lizzie died during her trip to D.C. and is today buried in Knoxville’s Old Gray Cemetery.

Lizzie Crozier French was a role model, a tireless advocate, and a courageous, forward-thinking woman who loved her community.  No wonder there is a statue and also a woman’s leadership award that honor her.

July 11, 2015

Did You Miss the Summit?

summitWe hope you were able to join us at the 2015 East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit! If you weren’t, check out this clip from WATE.. Check out the coverage here.

If you were there with us, you got to experience the incredible speakers, networking, and even dancing firsthand. Check out photos of the Summit on our Facebook page and see if you can find the video of everyone doing the electric slide!

We’ve already begun thing about the 2016 Summit and hope you’ll be able to join us. Tell us below what you’d like to see next year.

June 5, 2015

Don’t Forget About Our 10th Anniversary Party!

Time’s a wastin’ if you don’t already have your tickets for our 10th anniversary party!  Join us on Thursday evening, June 11th, at the Hilton Knoxville Airport from 5:30 till 7:30 p.m.  Mix and mingle with our Summit speakers, our Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award Recipient, and other women leaders from around East Tennessee.

Help us celebrate 10 years of the Summit! Tickets are $25. Register here!

April 14, 2015

Exciting Conference Line Up Announced for 2015 Summit

Tamara Franklin is set for the luncheon keynote, right?  We told you that last month.  She’s the EVP of Digital at Scripps.  But what else do we have in store for you? How about this slate of speakers, all of whom will talk about leadership and passion from a different perspective.

Returning by popular demand, Jennifer Rawls,public information officer of the City of Clarksville and former Executive Director of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. She’ll kick us off in high style that morning as she talks about taking that next step.

The team of Wendy Pitts Reeves and Susanne Dalton Dupes, from Mountain Laurel Leadership, will teach you how to cope with conflict when things get tough.  You may recognize the names also from the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council.

Nozomi Morgan, Executive Leadership Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide  in Atlanta. She’ll share some key strategies about positioning yourself for a promotion. (And yes, you do need to know this!)

Kathy Parks,Certified Financial Planner & Wealth Manager with Patriot Investment Management, talks from personal and professional perspectives about overcoming challenges.

Her Story panel of women leaders:

  • Shelly Taylor, JD, Professor of Law, Lincoln Memorial University Law School
  • Laura Cole, Director of Masters Investment Learning Center, University of Tennessee
  • Chrissy KeuperMorning Edition/Dialogue Host, WUOT 91.9 FM
  • Franciel Linares, PMP,  Director of IT Program Services, Information International Associates

And as always, a fantastic group of amazing exhibitors!

March 10, 2015

Meet Tamara Franklin: 2015 Keynote

FranklinWe are so excited and fortunate that Tamara Franklin has agreed to keynote our 2015 Summit. When our previously announce keynote, Susan Packard, learned she would have to travel to Europe, she moved quickly to find this exciting speaker for us. Ms. Franklin is executive vice president of digital at Scripps Networks Interactive where oversees the company’s digital business units. She coordinates the overall strategy and activity, focusing on an integrated company-wide approach to digital video production and distribution.

Franklin joined Scripps Networks in 2009 from Turner Broadcasting Systems, where she was vice president of business development. She is a graduate of NAMIC’s (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) Executive Leadership Development Program and the Women in Cable Telecommunications Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.

Among her awards, Franklin has been named one of Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women” and Savoy Magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Corporate America.” Franklin’s also been named to Cablefax’s”Most Influential Minorities in Cable” and “Most Powerful Women in Cable” lists.

She holds an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University

December 7, 2014

A Summit Success Story

One of the topics at the 2014 Summit was having the courage to create the life you want. Our speaker,
Carolyn Jones
demonstrated a tool she has been using for many years, vision boards. Carolyn Jones In 2012, Carolyn began using this tool to manifest her dream to travel to Kenya, Africa. She shared her intentional focus on that dream and physical visualization of it with us.  Carolyn also talked about her relationship with Carol Huntington, who had a dream to help children in Africa.

After her presentation, Summit Chair Wendy Pitts Reeves introduced Carolyn to Alison Mistak of Moja Designs, which grew out of The Alliance for Youth Achievement, a small, non-profit that worked in Africa from 2000-2012.  Allison, in turn, shared with Carolyn the names of many contacts in Africa, including directors of many schools there.

In October of this year, Carolyn Jones realized her dream.  She traveled with Carol Huntington to Africa.252  While there, they established Global Hearts, which will provide financial support to ensure that young women get a high school education.

Currently they are raising funds to support their first five girls.  To see learn more about Purity, Leesh, Gladys, Cecelia, and Saiboku and to donate to their education, go to the Global Hearts page at gofundme.

October 1, 2014

2015 Theme is Passionate Leadership

“Leaders are ‘people who leave their footprints in their areas of passion.'” Jonathan Byrnes, The Essence of Leadership.

Passionate Leadership is the theme for the 2015 East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit.  And how appropriate, since we’ll be celebrating 10 years of something we are all very passionate about, creating more women leader’s in East Tennessee!!!

What is at the heart and soul of a true leader? We are looking for some dynamic speakers to help us bring that message to our conference attendees.

Our formal Call for Speakers will be issued on Wednesday, October 15, 2015.  The speaker application and instructions will be made available from the Summit website at easttnwomensls.com/program/

It’s going to be a fabulous event, filled with top-notch speakers. 

Maybe you will be one of them!

May 7, 2014

Scripps Networks Interactive’s Cynthia Gibson is 3rd “Lizzie” Recipient

Lizzie Crozier French dedicated her life to improving the standing of women in the world. From her suffragist work to getting women admitted to the University of Tennessee to getting women and men housed separately in the local jail, French sought equality for women on all fronts. This year’s leadership award winner has long used both her Cynthia Gibsonprofessional and personal pursuits to “lift as she climbed.”

The East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council is proud to announce today, on the 163rd birthday of the award’s namesake that Scripps Networks Interactive’s Cynthia Gibson will become the third recipient of the Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award.  She will receive the award on Friday, June 13 at the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit. Gibson, who is executive vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at the company, leads the way in professional circles and nonprofit realms promoting women.

During the course of her career, Gibson has experienced many “firsts.” Prior to coming to Knoxville, Gibson was the first female attorney and eventually the first woman managing partner in a Cincinnati, Ohio, law firm. She’s now the first female chief legal officer at Scripps Networks.

“Throughout my career there’ve been many times when I was the only woman in the room,” says Gibson. “I quickly learned that fact made it even more important that I speak up and contribute, and to work hard to ensure soon there were other women in the room too. To me that’s the spirit of this award, which I’m honored to be receiving: that we should all strive to help lift others up while we climb ourselves.”

Today, she is involved with Women in Cable Telecommunications and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. She recently participated in the Women in Cable Telecommunications Senior Executive Summit. Gibson is a member of the Legacy Society of the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee and she chairs the board of directors of United Way Worldwide’s National Women’s Leadership Council and is a founding member and past chairperson of Knoxville’s Women of Tocqueville for United Way.

As with previous recipients (Mayor Madeline Rogero and Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee), Gibson is being awarded “The Lizzie” award to acknowledge her ongoing dedication to the principles set out by the award’s namesake.

Chair of the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council, Wendy Pitts Reeves says, “Each of the women who have been chosen to receive The Lizzie is a leader, not only in her field, but also in recognizing the importance of raising up women. Cynthia Gibson, like Mayor Rogero and Justice Lee, understands how critical it is to our community and to all of East Tennessee to encourage women in all walks of life to bring the very best of themselves to the table every day.”

March 24, 2014

Discuss with Us: Make Room for Her

Join us as we prepare for the June Summit by learning more about the powerful message our keynote speaker will bring. The Women’s Leadership Council will be reading Rebecca Shambaugh’s Make Room for Her between March 31st and May 8th. And we want you to join us.

ETWLS-book-clubIn fact, we’re encouraging you to join us by having an open discussion of the book along the way, covering a few chapters each week on our Facebook page. We’ll be taking turns, sharing our own thoughts about what we’re reading and posting comments each week.

Then, on every Thursday night at 7:00 during that period, one of us will be there on Facebook to join you in a live chat about what we are reading.

Why don’t YOU pick up a copy of Make Room for Her and read along with us?

Here’s the schedule we’ve come up with. You’ll can also find it on our Facebook page under the Discuss with Us tab.

Discussion Schedule

  1. Make Room for Her book coverWeek of March 31: Ch 1-4; Summary Part I; Discussion Leader: Susanne Dalton Dupes
  2. Week of April 7: Ch 5-7; Leader: Wendy Pitts Reeves
  3. Week of April 14: Ch 8-9, Summary Part II; Leader: Deb Schmitz
  4. Week of April 21: Ch 10-12; Leader: Debra Poole
  5. Week of April 28: Ch 13-15, Summary of Part III; Leader: Kim Lauth
  6. Week of May 5: Ch 16, Summary Part IV; Leader: Bonnie Hinds
  7. Thursday, May 8: Heads Up!

Continue reading

January 26, 2014

Famed Leadership Expert to Keynote 2014 Summit

Rebecca Shambaugh portrait

We are excited to announce that nationally known leadership strategist, author, and Huffington Post columnist Rebecca Shambaugh will bring the keynote “Courage to Lead” message at this year’s East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit.

Throughout her career, Shambaugh has coached and worked with top senior executives on timely leadership areas such as crisis and change management, communications strategies, executive presence, culture transformation, and human capital development. 

It's not the glass ceiling book cover

Make Room for Her book cover A thought leader in the industry, Shambaugh is the author of three books titled, Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton, It’s Not A Glass Ceiling, It’s A Sticky Floor, and her latest, Make Room for Her.

Shambaugh has been featured in publications such as: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, USA Today, Washington Business Journal, Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report, Pink Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, American Management Association, Computer World and Professional Woman’s Magazine.

Read her full bio and find out more about Shambaugh Leadership at www.shambaughleadership.com.

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