Women’s lives continue to get more complex as many take on increasingly higher levels of professional responsibility. Some become the breadwinner for their family and are responsible for mortgages and health insurance. Others take on substantial care-giving responsibilities.
Whatever the challenges, they face them within the context of the sluggish U.S. economy creating stressful conditions in many workplaces.
The 17th Bryant University Women’s Summit on March 14 confronts these interwoven elements – and stresses – of women’s lives with practical solutions for life-work balance and inspirational topics to encourage efforts to reach higher levels on all fronts, with the 2014 topic “Be the CEO of Your Life.”
“It’s a very important topic because there’s such a demand for women to increase their success in the workplace,” said summit founder Kati Machtley. “A Pew Research study done in May 2013 found that 40 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 are the primary breadwinners for their family.
“We have an obligation to provide educational programs for women shouldering all these responsibilities so they can be successful, keep their jobs and move up the career ladder, so they can take care of their families and themselves,” said Machtley.
Women have been taking to the summit with enthusiasm during its 17 years – it has been sold out every year. This year’s summit was a sellout of about 1,000 spaces at lightning speed.
“I have a waiting list of 140,” Machtley said.
The goal of being the CEO of one’s life will be addressed by leaders with a range of technical, scientific, financial and artistic accomplishments. They include one of Rhode Island’s most visible success stories, two-time Tony Award-winning actress and Oscar nominee Viola Davis of Central Falls. Davis graduated from Central Falls High School, studied theater at Rhode Island College and attended the Julliard School in New York.
“Viola was able to succeed in spite of her humble beginnings and became the CEO of her life,” said Machtley. The summit guests for Davis’ luncheon keynote will include the faculty adviser and four students from the Central Falls High School drama program and the principal, associate head of school and three eighth graders from the Segue Institute for Learning, a charter school for sixth, seventh and eighth grades in Central Falls.