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    PBWC 31st Annual Conference Rallies Community #ForGood Three days of inspiration, empowerment, and high-impact networking

    Going virtual for the first time ever, Professional BusinessWomen of California (PBWC) brought together nearly 6,000 people for their 31st Annual Conference from August 11–13. The three-day virtual event, which focused on the theme #ForGood, proved to deliver the inspiration and networking opportunities PBWC’s conference is known for by live-streaming to computers and mobile devices around the globe.

    “We are overcome with gratitude for all who joined us for our landmark event,” said Executive Director Christina DeSantis. “In this time of uncertainty, when we’re craving togetherness, our community showed up in full force. The stories of perseverance, drive, innovation, and hope in the face of adversity were the through-line of our Keynote and Seminar presentations and live networking sessions—affirming that when we come together for a common cause, we can realize change #ForGood.”

    PBWC is one of the largest women’s organizations, with a diverse community of more than 43,000 professionals worldwide. Since postponing its April date at Moscone Center in San Francisco in response to the state-wide shelter-in-place order, PBWC was determined to bring connection, education, and inspiration to its community while still prioritizing health and safety. The three-day virtual conference expanded the experience beyond what would have been possible in a one-day in-person event.

    There were many memorable moments that left attendees engaged and empowered:

    PBWC Founder Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Dr. Tererai Trent, author, motivational speaker and humanitarian, opened their hearts with personal stories of overcoming adversity, laying the foundation for devoting their lives to empowering and lifting others as they rose.

    Carla Harris, Vice-Chairman, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley, dropped her “pearls of wisdom,” noting that both performance and relationship currencies are driving forces for success, but encouraged investment in relationship currency.

    Journalist, television presenter and author Lisa Ling drew advice from both Sylvia Acevedo, former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and Tiera Fletcher, aerospace engineer working on the first rocket to Mars. They spoke to how becoming a subject matter expert leads to overcoming barriers due to age, gender, and race.

    Mary C. Daly, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, expressed why now more than ever being a 3D leader is essential. She emphasized that leaders and employers need to see people and meet them where they are and give people a “huge dose of empathy” through the pandemic and the future of work.

    Author and Stanford professor Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, provided a deeper understanding around the dilemma of unconscious bias, and how all can play a role in solving it. She tasked attendees with rethinking policies and practices that encourage bias within workplaces and institutions.

    In an interview with Lisa Ling, actor and producer Yara Shahidi demonstrated wisdom beyond her years. Shespoke about the late, great Congressman John Lewis and “the importance of intergenerational support,” sharing that she looked to him as somebody who actively prepared her generation with tools for unity and community.

    Actor, producer, and humanitarian Cate Blanchett spoke with candor and humility in an interview with Ling. She expressed that while “discord and disagreement are a healthy part of a democracy, you have to be accountable for what you say.” When one needs to be right over anything else, then one ceases to listen—and right now, listening takes precedence.

    In addition to the luminaries on the virtual mainstage, PBWC conference-goers heard from more than 60 panelists and seminar speakers who delivered skill-building presentations and shared invaluable advice. #ForGood also held over 70 PBWC Board and attendee-led live networking sessions discussing many relevant topics.

    The virtual venue featured an exhibit hall complete with live sponsor and exhibitor booths, a book store showcasing speaker books and PBWC recommendations, a video library highlighting bonus content from speakers and sponsors, an online gift bag, an historical retrospective on the 19th Amendment’s 100th anniversary, and plenty of networking opportunities via live chat, discussion rooms, direct messaging and 1:1 Zoom meetings. The #ForGood conference continued through August 23rd, with most content available for on-demand viewing.

    To learn more about PBWC and their upcoming events, visit

    Published on August 27, 2020