By Mike LaBella
---- — The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Winning Opportunities for Women Committee will mark 17 years of connecting, inspiring, and motivating women of all ages and professions at the 17th annual WOW Conference.
The event is Friday, April 5. In partnership with Holy Family Hospital, Merrimack Valley Hospital, Rockingham Motors and WOKQ, the conference will be held at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The theme is “Going for the Gold: A Day of Leaders and Champions.”
Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison is the featured speaker, sponsored by Holy Family Hospital and Merrimack Valley Hospital/Steward Health Care System. Harrison made history at the 2012 Olympics by winning the first Gold Medal by any American in the history of the sport of judo. Her courageous decision to go public with her wrenching story of childhood sexual abuse likely changed a lot of lives.
She has been honored as Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in December 2012.
“I am thrilled to be able to welcome a gold medal athlete with such a compelling story to our conference,’’ said Sven Amirian, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. “I truly feel that Kayla Harrison’s presence raises this already high-level event to new heights.’’
In addition to Harrison, the day-long conference will be packed with additional speakers, shopping, food and surprises. The lineup includes Laurie-Ann Murabito of LA Murabito Associates of Pelham N.H.; Jodi Rogers, CEO of The Barking Dog and Yonghund of Exeter, N.H.; and Jennifer Karin, author, mom, activist and humorist of Newburyport. Presenters will speak to professional development and leadership, and will include interactive presentations and discussions of their experiences.
Attendees will enjoy a continental breakfast, lunch, cash bar, thank-you gifts and goodie bags complete with discount coupons and additional gifts. There will be ample opportunity to network and mingle with others to exchange thoughts and ideas.
In addition to a surprise, interactive, get-out-of-your-seats game, attendees will enjoy live music provided by classical guitarist Omar Diaz. Originally from Dorado, Puerto Rico, Diaz is a majoring in music and music technology at Northern Essex Community College and will entertain during the networking and luncheon segment of the event. The Haverhill High School Band will introduce Harrison in theme with the event.
Guests will also enjoy shopping with more than 20 vendors in the WOW Marketplace. Vendors will sell hand-made jewelry, stationery, popular costume jewelry, health and wellness items, hair products, skin products, handbags, clothing and accessories, services, food, and other items.
The WOW Committee makes a charitable donation to a women- or girl-focused non-profit charity every year. This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill has been selected to receive the donation and will accept it during a check presentation at the event. Destiny Alicia, the Greater Haverhill Boys & Girls Club person of the year will share her story of overcoming adversity and future goals of college and owning her own business. Her presentation will express the gratitude of partnerships between young women, including the conference committee and the Boys & Girls Club.
The 2013 committee chairperson is Dianne McDermott of McDermott & Company Marketing of Haverhill. The WOW committee consists of 12 business women who are members of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. This dedicated committee develops and organizes the annual conference with components designed for professional women in all stages of their lives.
The 17th annual WOW conference is sponsored by Merrimack Valley Hospital & Holy Family Hospital/Steward Family Hospitals, Rockingham Toyota-Honda-Scion, WOKQ 97.5, Lowell Five, Suffolk University Sawyer Business School, Pentucket Medical Associates, Pentucket Bank, Smile Braces, Haverhill Bank, Opportunity Works, HMF Printing, McDermott & Company Marketing, and Flowers by Steve.
Early Bird conference registration is $69 per person. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, please visit www.haverhillchamber.com. For more information, please call 978-373-5663. Sponsorship packages are available, and student inquiries are welcome.