Women encouraged to reach new heights during symposium

Abigail Gibson

PAINTSVILLE — A large crowd of local businesses and community members from throughout eastern Kentucky gathered to network and share ideas on how to succeed on the professional level during the 19th Annual Big Sandy Women’s Business Symposium.

“This is a day we celebrate women in business and their success in the business world,” Management Consultant for Pikeville Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Michelle Spriggs said. “We have some really great businesses here today and small businesses owned by women.”

Spriggs said the event empowers those in attendance.

“It’s a wonderful event in the area,” she said. “They leave here motivated and go back to their offices or businesses and take back with them what they learned and utilize it.”

Keynote speaker, Amelia “Mimi” Brown from Detroit, Mich. addressed the crowd on how to effectively strengthen and elevate their leadership vision to new heights.

“You have to reach and get out of your comfort zone to achieve success,” Brown said.

She is passionate about people, leadership and successful businesses.

Brown was recognized as one of Michigan’s Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40, Ms. Michigan Plus America 2015 and a proud contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.

The first breakout session was presented by Regina Becknell, Project Specialist for Eastern Kentucky Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. During the workshop, individuals learned about what all QuickBooks has to offer and how to make it easier to complete their accounting.

The second breakout session was presented by Sarah Bowker, Communications Director for a statewide Community and Economic Development Technical Assistance for the College of Agriculture at University of Kentucky. She discussed finding balance and staying connected on social media.   

During lunch, entertainment was provided by the Pike County Central Jazz Ensemble. The ensemble is made up of talented students from grades nine through twelve and they are known for their mix of jazz and popular standards.

“It’s a really great day to celebrate women and their leadership in the business world or small business community,” Spriggs said. “We do have some men that braved the event and had a really great time.”

SBDC has 12 offices statewide and covers the 10 most eastern counties in Kentucky.

“All of our services are free and everything we do is confidential,” she said. “We really are the best kept secret. We can help you with all of your small business needs and it’s free, you can’t get any better than that.”

For more information call 606-432-5848 or visit ksbdc.org.