NJBIA’s 3-day Women Business Leaders Forum opens tonight

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s three-day Women Business Leaders Forum will open Wednesday night with an in-person event at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset.

The event will continue Thursday and Friday virtually. (For more information and to register, click here.)

The WBLF, which is the largest statewide conference of its kind in New Jersey, will feature a full slate of professional development workshops, TED-style talks and two keynote speakers.

Wednesday’s in-person cocktail reception from 6-8 p.m. will include a keynote speech from Emmy Award-winner Kerry Barrett, who is the owner of Kerry Barrett Consulting.

In addition, Monica Smith, the founder and CEO of Marketsmith, will be honored with the 2021 Caren Franzini Leadership Award. And five college students will be presented with the NJBIA Rising Star Award.

Michele Siekerka, the CEO of the NJBIA, said the event will have something for everyone.

“This really is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together New Jersey businesswomen from all levels and walks of life to engage, learn, explore and grow their personal and professional path,” she said. “There is truly some outstanding programming and stellar speakers at this year’s event, both in person and virtually.”

The event is in its seventh year. Siekerka said it has never been more important.

“At a time when women have been disparately impacted over the past 19 months due to the pandemic, it really is a great opportunity for them to see how they can improve their personal branding and skillsets as they aspire for their next professional goals,” she said.

Thursday’s virtual highlights include TED-style talks from:

  • Joetta Clark Diggs: Four-time Olympian, author, motivational speaker and New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee;
  • Terry Glebocki: Ocean Casino Resort CEO;
  • Michele Meyer-Shipp: Major League Baseball chief people & culture officer.

Friday’s virtual highlights include a live keynote speech from Joanne Coles.

Coles is the former chief content officer of Hearst Magazines and current executive producer of ABC Freeform’s acclaimed show “The Bold Type,” which is inspired by her career.