Virginia Women's Conference 2015

Virginia Women's Conference 2015 Event Graphic



Photo of Senator Mark R. Warner

Senator Mark R. Warner

Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a second term in November 2014. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Intelligence committees. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country's debt and deficit. 


Photo of Kathy Korman Frey

Kathy Korman Frey, Founder and CEO, The Hot Mommas® Project

Kathy is founder and “CHM” (Chief Hot Momma) of The Hot Mommas® Project, an award-winning social venture that pairs the world’s largest digital case study library of female role models with cutting-edge teaching tools. She is a regular speaker on the topics of women’s confidence, leadership, mentorship, and work-life balance and teaches Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at the George Washington University School of Business; the course is the winner of a National Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award.

Kathy earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia where she received the Seven Society’s James Earle Sargeant award for community service. She is a former Alzheimer’s Association board member and currently serves on the advisory boards of United Women in Business, Mixology, and 30 Second Mom, as well as the board of United Women in Business and The Closet. She was a 2010 Washington Business Journal Women Who Means Business Awardee, the DC National Association of Women Business Owner’s 2011 Woman of Distinction, and was recently named one of the 2015 "Influential Women of Virginia” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

She lives in the Washington DC area with her husband, two children, and two dogs in a state of semi-controlled chaos.


Photo of Rynthia Rost

Rynthia Rost, Vice President of Public Affairs, GEICO

Rynthia Rost is responsible for GEICO’s national community affairs, public relations, and cause marketing initiatives. She also works on the company’s diversity efforts and spearheaded the GEICO Corporate Community Citizens volunteer program.

Rynthia is deeply involved with a number of notable business organizations including the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and the Federal City Council. She is also a director of the National Urban League and a member of several Urban League affiliates. Previously, Rynthia served as assistant general counsel for National Public Radio. Throughout her extensive legal career, she worked with a number of organizations, including the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission, Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Legal Services Corporation. She is a member of the D.C., Maryland, Indiana and Virginia State Bar associations as well as the Minority Corporate Lawyers Association and the Association of Corporate Lawyers of America. Rynthia has received numerous professional and personal awards, including the Indiana University Distinguished Service Award, the International Dialogue on Diversity Mentorship Award, the Mentors Inc. Community Partner Award, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s National Service to Youth Award, and was recognized as a “Jewish Woman to Watch” by Jewish Women International. She graduated from Fisk University and Indiana University School of Law.


Photo of Joy Sutton

Joy Sutton, host of The Joy Sutton Show.

Joy Sutton is the dynamic and entertaining host of The Joy Sutton Show, a 30-minute talk show that inspires women to live their best lives. The show covers topics ranging from relationships and parenting, to how to turn old furniture into a new treasure. Soon to be in its fifth season, The Joy Sutton Show is not just a talk show, it's a life-changing experience.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Doors Open at 8AM
8:00 AM – 8:45 AM Registration/Networking breakfast.
8:45 AM- 9:00 AM Welcome Remarks.
9:00 AM – 9:20 AM Remarks, Senator Mark R. Warner.
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM Kathy Korman Frey, Founder and Ceo, The Hot Mommas Project.
10:20 AM – 11:20 AM  Breakout Sessions I

From Conflict to Curiosity: Leadership Lessons Applied to Real Life.
– This is a session for anyone who tries to muddle through conflict by pushing too hard for a desired outcome (dare we say “stubborn”?) or not hard enough (are you invisible?). Perhaps you navigate it seamlessly at work while home remains a war zone or worse, quiet with a thick slice of tension. Come learn how to think differently about the conversation and speak to what is important in a way that gets results. Today, we will prioritize strengthening your mind and then your connections, all with dash of curiosity. Presented by Dr. Abrina Schnurman-Crook, Executive Director, Batten Leadership Institute, Hollins University.

Women & Digital Domination.
– Did you know? Behind every great social media platform stand millions of great women. And boy do they love their smartphones! Women use social media more often and in more ways than men do. Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter all have more women users than men. Learn which platforms will benefit your own digital presence and help you build a strong “tribe” that is based on your needs. Presented by Donna Wertalik, Director of Marketing, Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

The Myth and the Math: Capital in the Community for Women-owned businesses.
– This panel explodes the myths and explains the math for women looking to start your own business or grow your existing business.  Moderated by Stephanie Keener, Program Specialist, Small Business Development Center, Lynchburg. Presenters: Marjette Upshur, Director, City of Lynchburg, VA Office of Economic Development; Sandy Ratliff, Business Services Manager, Southwest Office, VA Department of Small Business & Supplier Diversity; Curtis Thompson, VP of Financial Services, TAP; Christina Cain, Executive Director, Staunton Creative Community Fund.

Prepare to Care - Physically, Mentally and Financially
. – Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. No one is ever completely prepared for the job, especially since caregiving is often a long-term responsibility that may become more difficult over time. This workshop provides you with the tools, resources and financial planning that will help you better care for yourself and the ones you love. Presented by Beth Ludden, VP LTC Product, Genworth, and Russell Schiavone, Community Ambassador - Roanoke Valley, AARP Virginia.

Speed Networking Lounge. 
- Introverts rejoice! Structured speed networking is a great way to make new connections. Practice your elevator speech and then put it to the test. The next person you meet could change your life! Led by Kathryn Dolan, Women’s Business Representative, Small Business Administration District Office, Richmond.
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Breakout Sessions II

Your Health: Ages & Stages
. – Although you may be busy with family, work, and community responsibilities, you still need to remember to make your health a top priority so you can manage stress and be at your best for all that life demands. Health experts will advise you on what to expect and how to be prepared for the next decades of your life.  Presented by Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, MBA, President and Founding Dean, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Joanne Corte Grossi, MIPP, Regional Director, Region III, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Maureen E. Dempsey, MD, Senior Clinical Officer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Virginia.

Leadership: From Fear to Fun (An Interactive Workshop)
. – Each one of us has the potential to be a leader. From decision-making to motivating people, learn tips and techniques to bring out the finest characteristics in you. In this very interactive workshop you will have a blast while you acquire essential skills and engage with your peers utilizing a huge, oversized board game! Presented by Kay Taylor, Managing Partner, Winning the Training Game LLC and Kevin Chancey, Strategy Consultant, Winning the Training Game LLC.

4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors
. – Whether you're leading a major corporation, a non-profit, a small or large team or just yourself through today's complex environments, knowing which leadership behaviors make the most difference in your success can save you lots of time and energy.  This interactive workshop will help you identify which behaviors you have strengths in and which ones you can become more effective at in order to reach your richest outcomes.  Attendees will receive a free copy of the new ebook, 4 Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors. Presented by Lynda McNutt Foster, CEO, Cortex Leadership Consulting.

The Power of Friendship
. – Let’s talk about the value of female friendships and why you should make time in your busy schedule to cultivate a network of supportive women in your life. From planning an evening out to a weekend away with your girlfriends, learn some tips and tricks to cultivating your social network and staying in touch with your besties or your squad. Presented by Dr. Bahby Banks, Empowerment Speaker, Lisa B. Caldwell, Parent Involvement Specialist, Roanoke County Public Schools, and proud member of the Ya-Ya’s, and Katie Conner, VDP, CFEA, Development Specialist – Partnership Marketing, Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Speed Networking Lounge.
- Introverts rejoice! Structured speed networking is a great way to make new connections. Practice your elevator speech and then put it to the test. The next person you meet could change your life! Led by Cally Smith, Vice President of Membership and Brand Strategy, Roanoke Regional Chamber.
12:30 PM - 1:40 PM Box Lunch and Panel

The Modern Home Front. – We are inspired by the documentary, The Big Flip – Stories from the Modern Home Front, directed and produced by Izzy Chan and co-produced by Paige Green, which explores the challenges of marriage and parenting in unions where the woman is the primary breadwinner. We are extending this conversation to have a frank discussion with our panelists, and you, the audience, about the shifting dynamics that working women face today, whether it is as a career-focused parent or wife or the default caretaker of elderly parents. As gender roles change and the definition of a traditional household evolves, how do women navigate the multiple roles they play and how should women’s expectations of their life partners change or adjust in order to have successful relationships?  Moderated by Joy Sutton of The Joy Sutton Show. Panelists: Afira DeVries, President and CEO, United Way of Roanoke Valley; Andrew Sherman, Stay-at-home dad and self-employed registered investment advisor; Jennifer McClellan, Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates, 71st District, and Assistant General Counsel at Verizon Communications; Le-Ha Anderson, Manager-Media Relations, Dominion Resources; Dr. Sara Brown, Jefferson College of Health Sciences.

1:50 PM - 2:50 PM    Breakout Sessions III

What’s Your EQ? (Emotional Intelligence)
. – Emotional Intelligence is as powerful a predictor for job success and leadership as is IQ. This talk will highlight the components of Emotional Intelligence, their role in success and the challenges to achieving EI. Presented by Dr. Patrice Weiss, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Carilion Clinic.

The Woman in Charge: Financial Empowerment
. – Today in most households, women are the financial decision-makers, but we aren’t always equipped with the tools we need to make the most educated choices. Today, let’s learn about how to best use the resources and tools available to become financially empowered!  Presented by Mercedes Garcia, Vice President, Senior Business leader Global Community Relations, MasterCard Worldwide and Donna L. Mitchell, Vice President – Wealth Management, Mitchell/Hoffman Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Managing Stress with Success
. – What’s your risk for hypertension and heart disease? It might be higher than you realize. Incorporate healthy habits and commit to making self-care and exercise a lifelong priority. We’ll show you how! As we head into a busy season, these tips will help you make the most of your holidays and kick-off the New Year a happier and healthier YOU! Presented by Dr. Christina Stasiuk, Senior Medical Director for Cigna and Sara Bremer, Owner and Head Instructor, Just Dance Roanoke.

Women as Agents of Change
. – You have the power to make a difference! Whether it’s volunteering for your local PTA, participating in a fundraising walk, or working at a nonprofit, there are many ways for you to share your three T’s (time, talent, and treasure) and make a positive impact. Studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel physically healthier, manage chronic health conditions and lower stress! Learn some tips that may help you determine your personal path to philanthropy.  Presented by Dr. Jennifer Sager Gentry, Vice Chancellor, Institutional Advancement, Virginia’s Community Colleges and Vivian Sanchez-Jones, School & Community Liaison, Refugee and Immigration Services, Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

Speed Networking Lounge.
- Introverts rejoice! Structured speed networking is a great way to make new connections. Practice your elevator speech and then put it to the test. The next person you meet could change your life!  Led by Carl Knoblock, District Director, Virginia, U.S. Small Business Administration.
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM Rynthia Rost, Vice President of Public Affairs, GEICO.
3:30 PM – 3:35 PM Final Door Prize Drawings (must be present to win) and Closing Remarks

Conference Logistics

This is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical official U.S. Senate event. This event is free but registration is required.

Venue: The Virginia Women’s Conference will be held at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, 110 Shenandoah Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24016. Phone: 540-985-5900.

Parking:  Parking is free all day Saturday and Sunday at the following lots: Gainsboro Garage (25 Shenandoah Ave, Roanoke, VA 24016), Warehouse Row Lot (100 block of Salem Avenue, Roanoke, VA), Higher Ed Center Lot (Wells and Center Avenue, Roanoke, VA), Tower Garage* (10 S Jefferson St, Roanoke, VA 24011)  and where available on Gainsboro Avenue. (*Tower Garage is free on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After 4 p.m. there is a $3 flat fee.)

Map of area parking lots:

Registration: Doors will open at 8:00 a.m. in the North Entry Foyer of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.

Breakfast/Lunch: A continental breakfast, boxed lunch, and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Breakout Sessions: Breakout session locations will be indicated in the program you receive upon check-in.

Lodging: The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is holding a block of rooms under “Women’s Conference 2015.” They are $141+tax. We encourage you to call (540) 985-5900 or click here to reserve your room.  For other lodging: 

Visiting:  For more information about visiting Virginia’s Blue Ridge, go to

Attire: Business casual is recommended. Please be comfortable.