While COVID-19 has forced organizations to reimagine how they execute their signature events, sometimes the all-virtual reality of gatherings during a pandemic can change them for the better.

Case in point: the annual NJ Conference for Women, organized by the Women in Business Alliance of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has a lineup of nationally and internationally known women set to speak at the two-day event.

The conference takes place virtually on Thursday and Friday, October 29 and 30. Cost: $140. For more information or to register visit www.njconferenceforwomen.com.

The first day’s schedule includes a morning yoga session, followed by a mimosa networking session at 10 a.m. and further happy hour networking at 4 p.m., all via Zoom.

Friday morning kicks off with more yoga and networking over coffee, followed by the schedule of featured speakers and breakout sessions.

Keynote addresses will be given by Leymah Gbowee, Kerri Kennedy, and Victoria Arlen.

Leymah Gbowee

Gbowee is a Liberian activist and of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Trained as a social worker and women’s rights advocate, she is currently executive director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and is the founder and current president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and co-founder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa.

Her work with Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace helped to end Liberia’s civil war in 2003 and is recounted in her memoir, “Mighty Be Our Powers,” as well as an award-winning play.

Kerri Kennedy

Kerri Kennedy is the associate general secretary for international programs at American Friends Service Committee. She previously directed Women’s Campaign International, a global nonprofit that works to support women in politics and private-sector leadership positions. The New Jersey resident is also the author of “Indivisible: Global Leaders for Shared Security.”

Kennedy’s talk leads into a session on the power of engagement, focused on her work on empowering women globally to create change in the world.

Victoria Arlen

The final keynote speaker, Victoria Arlen, is an ESPN reporter and host who overcame serious neurological diseases as a child to become a champion Paralympic swimmer. After spending four years in a vegetative state followed by a decade confined to a wheelchair, Arlen regained the ability to walk and competed on the television program “Dancing with the Stars.”

Her talk focuses on her “breakthrough program” for overcoming life’s darkest challenges.

Additional breakout sessions on Friday cover topics including “Leveraging Today’s Multigenerational Workforce,” “Rise to Resiliency: Learning New Responses for Stressful Times,” “How About Me? Getting the Recognition You Deserve,” “Engagement During Times of Uncertainty: An Opportunity to Shine,” “Own Your Worth – Women, Wealth and the Path to Financial Independence,” and “The Power of Living a Deliberate (& Selfish) Life.”


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