Annual Conference




Be inspired by Keynote Speaker Debbie Ferguson McKenzie, Olympic medalist and Assistant Coach for Women’s Track & Field with UK Athletics.

Learn from successful women of UK and Lexington to build your professional and personal skill sets.

Select your choice of four breakout sessions to learn about professional branding, work-life wellness, communicating mindfully, living intentionally, and appreciation in the workplace. See descriptions below!

Find peace of mind with the finale KORU session.


October 16, 2019     Gatton Student Center Ballroom       SOLD OUT 


Conference attendees are encouraged to ask for financial support from their respective departments.

Conference registration is $25 and includes breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.

UK staff and faculty will login with their LinkBlue ID to be able to register for a reduced rate of $15.00.

If you are a General Member of the Women’s Forum, check your email for your special discount code.


Agenda and Breakout Sessions

8:00-9:00 AM –Breakfast & Registration

9:00-9:30 AM – Welcome Ceremony

9:30-10:20 AM – Session 1 (choose one)

Leanna Hartsough and Eric Wilkinson present Communicating Mindfully - Power hierarchies embedded in formalized organizational structures intersect with sociological hierarchies to marginalize people and perspectives, limit diversity in ideas, and shut down substantive dialogue. Bias against vulnerable and minority populations often emerges in organizational decision making. In this workshop, we will: 1. Review research on the benefits of mindfulness practices, including communicating mindfully, with experiential mindfulness learning opportunities for participants; 2. Summarize the 5 processes of mindful organizing applicable to transforming work environments; and 3. Critically assess the potential for enhancing diversity and reducing bias in high-reliability organizations.

Dee Dlugonski presents Movement Mentors - Being physically active is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Yet, approximately 50% of adults do not achieve recommended levels of activity and women are less likely than men to meet physical activity guidelines. Starting and maintaining a physical activity routine is challenging, especially while balancing multiple responsibilities such as work, caregiving, and other commitments. This session will feature a panel of physically active, professional women who will share their physical activity story – how they got started, the challenges they have faced, and tips for maintaining their active lifestyle. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion with the panelists.

Ashley Tabb presents Simple Daily Disciplines - Developing certain disciplines and doing them daily can lead to career advancement, financial growth, weight loss, and other success goals. Participants will learn the difference between contact and clarity statements. They will be asked to brainstorm in pairs and write their own. We will discuss the three reasons people don't implement daily disciplines even though they know they should. A video will be shown that explains how the 5-second rule can help them get started. We will learn tips to stay consistent once daily disciplines are determined and started.

Rosa Mejia and Kristie Colón present How Onboarding Employees Can Change the Office Culture - What if you could turn an insignificant workplace experience into something meaningful—something that becomes a defining moment? Too many times we repeat a process because that’s how it’s always been done. Yet with some simple changes, we can transform ordinary into amazing. During this talk, we’ll discuss how intentionality and planning can shift the mentality of employees and supervisors and create advocates for your work. We’ll take a look at adding fun to the every-day and discover how ordinary moments in the workplace can transform your office culture.

10:30-11:20 AM – Session 2 (choose one)

Jillian Pyatte presents Elevate Your Public Speaking - This session will introduce the basics of strong public speaking to help attendees build confidence and elevate this skill set. Concepts presented will include power poses, positive self-talk, and visualization as well as general tips and tricks for preparation and presentation.

Ashley Gei presents Build Your Brand - Whether you are just starting out, or well on your way, your professional brand is the key to all new opportunities. LinkedIn is a great professional resource to self-market to employers. Attend and learn 5 LinkedIn steps that will connect you to multiple opportunities in the world of work.

Faith N. Cracraft & Azetta Beatty present Stretched Too Thin - Using the book Stretched Too Thin by Jessica N. Turner as a springboard, this session will discuss ways you can be a parenting rockstar while excelling at your career here at UK. This interactive session will have you sharing self-care ideas with other attendees, debunking the myth of work-life balance, and looking at best practices of what you do that helps your work/parenting “balance”. You'll hear from some current UK Parents about things they've done to help with this "balance" and learn about university resources available to you as an employee.

Karen Slaymaker presents Engaging with International Community - This session will introduce ways in which we can engage with the international community living in Kentucky and several community organizations who are looking for volunteers. Through storytelling, international members of the community will talk about what the UK International Hospitality Program, KY Refugee Ministries, and the International Book Project have meant to them. Participants in this session will leave with ways that they could volunteer one time or over a longer period of engagement. Participants will also gain a better understanding of the international community here in Kentucky.

11:30-12:15 PM – Keynote Speaker:  Debbie Ferguson McKenzie

12:15 -1:00 PM – Lunch & Roundtable Discussions

1:10-2:00 PM – Session 3 (choose one)

Alison Begor presents Banish Burnout - Employees in 2019 juggle many different priorities and stressors. In addition, many people have access to technology around the clock so it’s no wonder burnout is a challenge for many leaders. Burnout can lead to a drop in engagement, productivity, and ultimately your personal success. In this session, you will learn strategies to banish your own burnout as well as ways to recognize and banish burnout in other employees. You will learn proven strategies that can be immediately implemented for yourself as well as ideas on how you can help support employees, lessen burnout, and increase productivity.

Terri Lundberg presents The 36-Hour Day - This seminar will cover proven concepts, strategies and tools to help professionals evaluate, redirect, and refine the use of their time in accomplishing daily activities at both work and home. Concepts: decision-making prioritization and return on time investment. Strategies: internal /external interruption, meeting, email and personal health and relationship management. Tools: Book and app recommendations, work environment, and digital content.

Renee Jones presents Pack Your Own Bag - One of the best things we can do to care for ourselves is to unpack and offload the baggage we've dragged with us for decades. When we no longer spend energy holding on to the old baggage and allowing it to block us from pursuing our goals and dreams, we can stand again, look around, and discover our best selves. Our best selves make much better choices in all areas. Three elements include: believe it's possible to be one's best, recognize what's inside so we can heal and make room for change, and cultivating our best selves.

Tamika Tompoulidis presents Mastering Your Executive Presence: Using Nonverbal Skills to Manage First Impressions - This presentation will demonstrate the right interpersonal and nonverbal skills needed to create and enhance an executive presence, when speaking to any audience or groups of people. This session includes managing first impressions, building self-confidence, professionalism tactics, and an activity for audience members.

2:10-3:00 PM – Session 4 (choose one)

Vitale Buford presents Embracing Imperfection - Perfection is the thief of joy. It’s the stealer of fun. And the robber of love. It tells you that nothing is ever good enough. It convinces you that if you look perfect, act perfect, and live perfect, you will be happy. But it’s all an illusion. It’s a trap that keeps us disconnected from joy, from creativity, from our potential, from relationships and love. It keeps us small, fragile and fearful. Fear, shame and guilt are what keeps us stuck in perfectionism, which gets in the way of progress. When we face our fears and embrace our imperfections, we can reach our full potential and realize our dreams. During this session you will learn my 3-step process to overcome your fear of imperfection. The three steps are Get Aware, Get Perspective and Get Going. These three steps involve identifying the perfection patterns that are holding you back, learning the mindset tools you need to shift out of your perfection, and then creating an environment to embrace imperfection.

Heidi Morrow presents Becoming the You-est You - This session will talk about having a resilient mindset and re-discovering yourself and your life after major life changes and in the midst of a turbulent world. We will explore the topics of vulnerability, depression, loneliness, anxiety, hope, finding peace, love, motivation, joy, and inspiration with and within yourself.

Rhonda Henry presents Who Am I and How Did I Get Here? - It is easy to get swept away in the demands of work, children, partners, caregiving, school and so much more. It can be overwhelming and sometimes it feels like we lose ourselves along the way. This session will encourage participants to step back from the day to day demands of life and explore their individual needs and goals. We will use the Wheel of Life activity as part of this assessment. Participants will also be encouraged to choose 1-2 small steps they can take toward their goals. The presenter will also provide a brief overview of campus, community and online resources that may be useful. If time and space allow, participants will also create a small takeaway item to remind them of their goals.

3:00-3:30 PM – Closing

3:45-4:30 PM –  KORU (optional)






Photos from the 2018 conference can be viewed on our Facebook page as well as a short video.






Past Conference Information

2018 Conference

Our twelfth annual conference "Intention" took place on October 18, 2018, in the Gatton Student Center. The keynote speaker was Dr. Colleen Swartz, chief administrative officer for UK HealthCare.

2017 Conference 

Our eleventh annual conference "The Future is Female" featured Dr. Sonja Feist-Price, Vice President for Institutional Diversity, and took place on October 18, 2017. Take a look the Conference Session Topics here.

2016 Conference

Our tenth annual conference"She is Every Woman" featured Dr. Kathi Kern, Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Director of CELT, and took place on October 19, 2016.

2015 Conference

Our ninth annual conference Memoirs of a UK Woman took place on October 21 at the Hilary J. Boone Center (500 Rose Street). Our keynote speaker was Kirsten Turner, the Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean in UK’s College of Arts and Sciences.

2014 Conference

The eighth annual conference, "Back to the Future: Female Leaders Past, Present, and Future," took place on October 15, 2014. We welcomed Dr. Christine Riordan as our keynote speaker.

2013 Conference

The seventh annual conference, "Hear Me Roar," took place on October 16, 2013. Our keynote speaker was Grace Gorrell, owner of Lead With Grace. 

2012 Conference

The sixth annual conference was held October 26, 2012. The keynote speaker was Matthew Mitchell, UK Women's Basketball Coach.