Annual UKWF Conference

UK Women's Forum 17th Annual Conference

Wednesday, December 13, 2023
10:00 am - 4:00 pm ET

"A New Era of You"





Questions can also be sent to the current chair Kendriana Price at



10:00 am - 10:20 am                                         Welcome
10:25 am - 11:15 am                                         Session 1
11:20 am - 12:10 pm                                         Session 2
12:15 pm - 1:30 pm                                           Lunch Keynote
1:35 pm - 2:25 pm                                             Session 3
2:25 pm - 2:35 pm                                             Afternoon Energizer Break
2:35 pm - 3:25 pm                                             Session 4
3:35 pm - 4:00 pm                                             Closing


All employees with parking permits are encouraged to park in an area accessible by their permit. Off-campus employees or community members without parking permits are encouraged to park in the Cornerstone Garage or Gatton Student Center parking and receive coupon and validation at conference check-in.



Riketta Franklin, M.Ed., CEO, The Social Experience

Are You Ready for the Social Experience?! The ultimate goal of the social experience is to foster meaningful connections, inspire personal growth and create a sense of belonging. Participants leave with not only new friendships and connections but also with a deeper understanding of self along with a heightened sense of community.



Concurrent Sessions 1:

  • Building a Well-Being Team Culture with Lisa Williams and Virginia Valentin
    A new era of well-being is upon us – an era that focuses on building team cultures that foster an environment where all thrive. Over the past year, Dr. Valentin and Ms. Williams have worked together to reimagine the team culture of the Physician Assistant Studies Department. Using innovative and human-centered approaches, the duo has reinvented a team environment that embraces the unique strengths of each team member, makes decisions with “whole-brain teaming” and is anchored in values and purpose. During this session, the pair will share their approach to building a well-being team culture during a time of significant change. 
  • What To Do With an Idea? How Women Can Change the World? with Stephanie Spires
    Women are full of great ideas! Women also hesitate to share these ideas with others. We try to forget our ideas. We try to ignore them. But some ideas won't go away. In this session attendees will learn how to nourish, grown, and share their ideas with others to make change in their community and/or workplace.  
  • Bleeding Hearts, Don't Bleed Out with Arion Jett-Seals
    This session offers a holistic approach to nurturing the hearts of caregivers and advocates, empowering them to continue their vital work without sacrificing their own mental, emotional, and physical health. In a world where compassion and dedication often lead to personal depletion, this session will bring together professionals to explore strategies for maintaining well-being while serving others. Through this interactive presentation, insightful discussion, and a real-life case study, attendees will learn to set healthier boundaries, identify signs of burnout, and implement effective self-care practices.
  • Building Realistic Habits with Lexi Fellows
    We are habitual creatures, finding comfort in the habits that we have created. This helps us move forward or sometimes they keep us in the same place. Building realistic habits is hard and we tend to want to solve everything at one time. This doesn’t always work; our motivation leaves and we revert to our old ways. Instead, I offer a way to build realistic habits, habits that one can continue to grow by not just motivation but discipline and consistency. In both my personal and professional life, I’ve learned how to use discipline as a tool for success. Starting my college career early, I graduated high school with a two-year college degree, leading to Eastern Kentucky University where I double majored and double minored. This led me to Boone County Extension, where my versatility allowed me to manage over 15 different types of social media accounts. In my personal life, I was able to lose over 100 lbs over six years through the keto diet, walking, and personal training. This did not begin at once rather it was a series of steps that led me to who I am today. 


Concurrent Sessions 2:

  • A New Professional Era For You with Deloris Foxworth
    Are you stuck in a rut professionally? Not sure what to do next? Whether you are a seasoned professional or someone new in your field, this session can help you find ways to define yourself professionally or just find your next professional development opportunity. Join author and speaker, Deloris Foxworth, as she identifies six key strategies for growing your professional self. Within each strategy, she will share real-world examples that apply to a variety of professions and/or experience levels. You will walk away with at least one professional goal and some ideas on how to achieve it.
  • Positive Leadership: Why It Matters with Laura Bryan
    Relying on the science of positive organizational psychology and scholarship, positive leaders use evidenced based strategies that help individuals and organizations to thrive.  By implementing positive practices, leaders empower others to realize their potential and be their best in the workplace.  As compared to managers who may focus on task completion and problem solving, positive leaders foster a culture of abundance by focusing on strengths and opportunities.  What can leaders do to practice positive leadership?  Four positive leadership strategies will be reviewed and discussed during this session:  positive climate, positive relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning.
  • Get Out of Your Head! Identify and Conquer Your Saboteurs with Amanda Schagne and Mandy Connelly
    Saboteurs are the voices in your head that generate negative emotions in the way you handle life’s everyday challenges. Prevent negative self-talk before it impacts your decision-making and actions. Already there? That's okay! Join us for an interactive session and learn how to overcome that pesky voice inside your head that's holding you back. We'll review the "self-saboteurs" that plague you the most and how to conquer them. Take this quick survey to learn more about your unique saboteurs -
  • Be Who You Want: Harnessing Personality Science to Develop Traits for Success with Shannon Sauer-Zavala
    According to psychologists, personality is your characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Are you a person who tends to think about situations in your life more pessimistically, or are you a glass half full kind of person? Do you tend to get angry when someone cuts you off in traffic or are you more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt (e.g., “maybe they’re on the way to the hospital”)? Do you wait until the last minute to complete tasks, or do you plan ahead? You can think of personality as a label that summarizes your responses to questions like these. Depending on your answers, you might be labeled as optimistic, empathetic, or reliable. In other words, you are considered “reliable” if you think and behave “reliably.” And while it might seem hard to change personality, people change how they think, feel, and behave all the time. If you start to think “being on time shows others that I respect them,” feel pride when you arrive to brunch before your friends and engage in new behaviors that increase your timeliness (e.g., getting up with an alarm, setting appointment reminders), you are embodying the characteristics of a reliable person. If you maintain these changes to your thinking, emotions, and behaviors over time – voila! – you’ve become a reliable person. What if, instead of playing to your current strengths, you imagined the life you want and purposefully developed the characteristics you’d need to be successful? If you’ve ever thought “I can’t do [insert job or activity] because I’m not [insert personality characteristic] enough” – this talk is for you. I will share proven (i.e., tested in scientific research) strategies to enhance or shift the traits that aren’t serving you.


Concurrent Sessions 3:

  • Mask Off: The Secret to Being Your Authentic Self with Kendra Hill
    Being your authentic self is something many people struggle with, especially women. We often feel like we have to shift and change ourselves to be liked and accepted by our peers, colleagues, and our loved ones. It's time out for faking it. In this session, Kendra shares her method for showing up as your authentic self no matter where you are. The audience will walk away with a better understanding of who they are, tools to heal from rejection, and ways to stay confident beyond the workplace. 
  • Building Community in Higher Education Through Motherhood and Collaboration with Ryessia Russell and Ramla Osman
    "Motherhood in higher education can be isolating especially for women in leadership and supervisory roles. Women are trying to balance financial, familial, and caretaking responsibilities while building and maintaining their professional identities. Often, women overlook their own mental and physical well-being due to prioritizing others and embodying the “do it all myself” mentality. By attending this session, you will gain tools to build community with individuals who are mothers in higher education. These tools will help alleviate some of the societal pressures and break out of the destructive “doing it yourself” mentality while normalizing the power in asking for help.  
  • Beyond Affirmative Action: A Diverse Perspective on Transformative Policies for True Inclusion with Tifara Brown
    The evolution of diversity and inclusion necessitates a transformative policy shift away from exclusive focus on homogenous groups. As individuals embody multifaceted identities, conventional corporate resource groups can fall short in catering to their nuanced needs. Envisioning an inclusive future entails recalibrating policies to comprehensively embrace the intricate tapestry of identity. By crafting measures that holistically consider diverse aspects of oneself, organizations can organically empower a varied workforce. This proactive approach transcends the limitations of conventional strategy, fostering automatic and equitable advantages for practitioners of all backgrounds. The future lies in policies attuned to the intricate interplay of identity, cultivating an environment where true diversity thrives.


Concurrent Sessions 4:

  • A Question for the Missing Stork: Navigating Infertility at UK with Jessica Pennington
    Join us as we explore the complex journey of infertility and how to navigate it as a UK employee. We will dive into the rollercoaster ride of infertility, offering personal stories and practical insights. We'll discuss the newly added infertility benefits for UK employees and how they can make a difference in your path. Balancing work and fertility treatment can be a daunting task, but we've got tips and real-life experiences to share. And we'll connect you with resources available at UK and in the community. Let's navigate this challenging terrain together and leave empowered with knowledge and camaraderie. 
  • Before You Call Me a Strong Independent Black Woman with Jovita Ogechi Daraezinwa
    A recent personal encounter made me reexamine the label of a "Strong independent black woman" that I was taught to embrace. This label often implies emotional restraint, excessive independence, and caregiving at one's expense. While it's seen as a tribute to strength, it can stifle vulnerability, mask femininity, and reinforce stereotypes. Embracing dialectic thinking has shown me the multifaceted nature of black women, encompassing softness, strength and appreciation for support. Thus, my renewed effort to balance strength and success despite the societal expectations and stereotypes. Hoping that we can be recognized as our true selves not as a label.
  • Leadership Lessions: From Burnout to Balance with Lisa Williams
    During her time as a leadership coach and consultant, Lisa witnessed her clients make transformations in their mindsets and behaviors. These transformations almost always resulted in sustainable shifts from burnout to balance. Through this work, Lisa created a list of five impactful lessons that help women exhale, realign with what matters most, and shift from burnout to balance. During this interactive session, Lisa will share the five lessons and invite participants to engage in reflection exercises to support their own shifts. 


Past Conference Information

2022 Conference

Our sixteenth annual conference "Grow, Change, Evolve" was held at the Gatton Student Center on December 7, 2022.

2021 Conference

Our fifteenth annual conference "Balance" was a virtual conference held on December 10, 2021. The keynote speaker was Amy McGrath, Lt.Col, USMC (Retired) and Adjunct Lecturer at the UK Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.

2020 Conference

Our fourteenth annual conference "Breaking Barriers Building Bridges" was a virtual conference held on December 8-9, 2020. The keynote speakers were Judge Pamela R. Goodwine, Kentucky Court of Appeals for the 5th Appellate District, and Dr. Trisha Clement-Montgomery, UK Acting Dean of Students.

2019 Conference

Our thirteenth annual conference "Elevate" took place on October 16, 2019, in the Gatton Student Center. The keynote speaker was Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, five-time Olympian and assistant track coach at UK.

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. 

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.