Chamber to host Women's Conference


Amanda Bell


Staff Writer

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Amanda Bell, the incoming chairwoman of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, is gearing up to welcome about 250 women to the upcoming Chamber’s 2019 Women’s Conference.

The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Rocky Mount Mills.

Bell, who will be the third woman to chair the Rocky Mount Area Chamber in 116 years, said the event brings attention to women and their needs in the workplace and in the community.

“This was a new event for the Chamber of Commerce in 2018 and it shows the way our Chamber has evolved,” Bell said. “Once thought of as a primarily male organization, the Rocky Mount Chamber of today is very inclusive and supports women in business.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Vivian Howard of Kinston. Howard is a renowned chef, author and television personality.

Desiree Dolberry, marketing coordinator for the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, said she loves the fact that the conference allows so many women to make so many connections in one day.

“A conference of this magnitude helps women not only learn from other women but provide them a platform for their voice,” Dolberry said. “We hope to provide a great connector of information and women to continue to build relationships with well after the event.”

After a welcome from Bell, the first speaker will be Machelle Sanders, secretary of the state Department of Administration.

Also slated to speak later in the morning is Etaf Rum, author of the New York Times bestselling novel, “A Woman is No Man.” Rum is included on a panel called “Local Champion Women.” Attendees will hear Rum and other local panelists recount how they have broken barriers and glass ceilings in their businesses and in the community. The other panelists include Jessica Hicks, owner of Bel Air Art Center and Willow Spring Yoga Studio; Karen Jones, owner of Cleen Sweep; and Brandy Gallinoto, entrepreneur.

Moderator for this panel will be Kelly Lee, a regional director for the N.C. Community Foundation.

Bell said she is excited to see all the women who are planning to attend the conference.

“Women in business typically have two full-time jobs. Most women have done more before they arrive at work than some people do throughout their day,” Bell said. “We have an amazing panel this year, which includes men because we are all partners in the business world.”

Tickets for the event are $50 for Chamber members and $60 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at www.RockyMountChamber.org. Price includes a continental breakfast and lunch. For an additional $40, participants can purchase a signed copy of Howard’s book, “Roots Run Deep,” and have a photo taken with the author.