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Connect's Women in Tourism Forum provides the perfect blend of education and quality networking, while focusing on the importance of women's advancement in the tourism industry.





Bringing together women in leadership positions in the tourism world to learn, grow and expand their opportunities for advancement while joining experts to create positive change in the industry.




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2019 Agenda

Subject to Change

Monday, Nov. 4
5:30-7 p.m.Happy Hour With Kickoff Keynote: Jean Fedigan, Executive Director of Sister Jose Women’s Center
7:15-8:30 p.m.Welcome Dinner
Tuesday, Nov. 5
7 a.m."Up and At It" Morning Activity—Yoga

8-8:30 a.m.Breakfast
8:30-10:15 a.m.Interactive Team Building
10:30 a.m.-NoonSession: "The 5-Step Game Plan to Get the Promotion and Pay Raise You Deserve"—Presented by Heather Mills
Noon-1:15 p.m.Lunch and Panel: "Boss Lady, Bad Ass or Bust? You Decide." | Meet the Panelists
1:30-3 p.m.Session: "Brave Your Fear"—Presented by Crista Samaras
3:15-4 p.m.Interactive Team-Building
4:15-5:30 p.m.Round-Table Discussions
5:45-7 p.m.Closing Cocktails
Wednesday, Nov. 6
7 a.m."Up and At It" Morning Activity—Walk/Run on Resort Trails

8:30-10 a.m.Breakfast and Closing Keynote: "Facing the Fear of Success", Presented by Kelsey Dixon
10-11:30 a.m."Save the BEST 'Business' for Last"
Ladies can use this time for business card or RFP exchange, finish those conversation or take the connections you’ve made to the next level with this dedicated time for business. Pair that with a mimosa bar to finish out the forum with a CHEERS!




2019 Keynotes

Kelsey Dixon

Kelsey is a believer in doing life differently. She co-founded davies + dixon at the vibrant age of 24 in 2014. Now as president, she’s led the company to grow by 40% every year, employed a boundary-pushing team, worked with many familiar names in the industry and spoke on several regional panels. She has also been appointed to the Association for Women in Events 2019-2020 board of directors.

Prior to launching the davies + dixon brand, she chalked up other "hats off" moments in her career, like having her success as a field sales manager with mark. by Avon highlighted in national media. An industry native with a Bachelor's (and Student of the Year Award) in tourism and events management from George Mason University, her career launchpad representing a luxury golf resort involved partnering with local visitors bureaus to lead regional sales efforts, strengthen client engagement and improve marketing strategy.

An East Coast USA original and West Coast transplant, she now embraces the "digital nomad" lifestyle while traveling and managing davies + dixon from anywhere in the world.

Jean Fedigan

A registered nurse since 1993, Jean Fedigan received both her Bachelors Degree in Nursing and her Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from the University of Phoenix. Beginning in 2005, she held several leadership positions at the University Physicians Healthcare Network, including: Vice President of Patient Care Services, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Ambulatory Services.

Since 2009, Jean has served as the executive director for Sister Jose Women’s Center in Tucson, where she is responsible for all operations. Currently, the Center offers over 100 women per day resources, including a safe place to form community, have a bit of food, do laundry, rest or take classes. Sister Jose Women's Center is more than a shelter; it is a community built upon the values of compassion, dignity and respect in a non-institutionalized setting.

Heather Mills

Heather Mills is a negotiation expert for women, class action attorney, and founder of Women Who Ask, a company that helps women negotiate for what they want in their careers. She's helped hundreds of women successfully negotiate meaningful promotions, pay raises, and career breakthroughs.

Crista Samaras

Crista Samaras is the CEO and founder of Brave Enterprises. She is an inventor, businesswoman, record-setting lacrosse player, coach, writer, actress and mother. At Princeton University, Samaras was Rookie of the Year, two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, and three-time All American. She was the first player—man or woman — to score 50 goals in a single season during her sophomore year. After graduating, Samaras went on to win a gold medal in the 2001 IFWLA World Cup and a silver medal in the 2005 IFWLA World Cup. In 2000, she founded XTEAM lacrosse, a national club for girls from non-traditional lacrosse areas who wanted to pursue playing in college, which she sold in 2014. In 2016, Samaras founded Brave Enterprises to help people do hard things. Brave’s mission is to craft practice-based programming that will inform brave-inspired behaviors for people who want to make a habit of taking action.

2019 Education

Subject to Change

Tuesday, Nov. 5
10:30 a.m.-Noon | Session

Presented by Heather Mills

Are you ready to advance your career and increase your income? Many women believe that this requires putting work before everything else (a recipe for burnout!) or playing cutthroat office politics. Heather Mills is here to tell you that both of those strategies are total BS!

In this workshop, you'll learn:
> The step-by-step blueprint Heather's female clients use to consistently get promoted and earn up to 30% pay raises—without being aggressive, competitive, or overly demanding.
> How you can use your natural advantages as a woman to land your ideal role, get promoted, and get paid the salary you deserve
> How to take control of you career so that you can advance and earn more without pushing yourself to burnout
>...AND how to do all of this while you earn MORE respect in the workplace.

Noon-1:15 p.m. | Lunch Panel

Moderated by Tamela Blalock, AWE Founder and Past President

Panelists: Julie Sullivan, AWE President; Jenn Artura, AWE Board Member; and Jon’ll Boyd, AWE Education Committee Chair

Meet the panelists.

What do Badasses and Boss Ladies have in common?

They lean into everyday challenges with ease and grace. By definition, they are successful, independent and strong women who despite the odds, worked hard and fought for what they believed in. These women have found success in a traditionally male-dominated industry like events and love sharing it and supporting other women.

Join us for a session with three industry leaders sharing the lessons they have learned, the steps they have taken, and chapters they have lived to have become the incredibly successful women they are today.

1:30-3 p.m. | General Session

Presented by Crista Samaras

Fear is powerful and it can either propel or immobilize us. For women especially, fear plays a critical role by the time we are 11 years old and we see its effects throughout our lifetime. Crista Samaras will confront the unhealthy obsession with being fearless rather than more brave, explore the value of being intentionally out of our comfort zone, and make a case that chasing failure is a ticket to increasing core confidence. This session will be highly interactive and include foundational principles of Brave's research with over 4,000 people in the last two years. Furthermore, it will incorporate the most effective science in the field of social emotional learning including grit, self-control, deliberate practice, growth, mindset, goal-setting.

Wednesday, Nov. 6
8:30-10 a.m. | Breakfast Session

Presented by Kelsey Dixon

We are familiar with the fear of failure and the concept that "failing forward" is the positive learning moment that occurs from it when it’s bound to happen. But what about the fear of success? There’s something monumentally terrifying about seeing all of your dreams come to fruition. Living in the potential of all that "could be" is easy and safe. But when you put all of your hopes and dreams out there for the world to see... that's vulnerability. And then, what does life look like if you’re really able to pull it off?!

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