Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Director Dale Smith said empowering women in her field is the goal of a two-day conference this week dubbed the LeadHerShip workshop.
The second annual conference on Friday and Saturday at the Gateway Convention Center is expected to draw more than 100 women from across the state for presentations by local, state and national leaders on topics ranging from self-confidence to career transitions and leadership development.
“For me personally, this conference is a unique way for me to give back,” Smith said. “There are a lot of women who want to head up their agencies, so we are hoping to give them the tools at this workshop to be able to do that.”
Karon Badalamenti, a certified Parks and Recreation executive from Colorado, will speak about her 25 years of experience in municipal and county government planning and management. Carolyn McKnight-Bray will discuss her career path from a colonel in the U.S. Army to becoming a parks superintendent in Baton Rouge, La.
“Some of the tools we can give those who attend are through the experiences of people who have done it,” Smith said. “This year, we’ve reached out to people in the Parks and Recreation field who have had different or unusual career paths to where they are today.”
For more information or to register for the conference, go to http://cnr.ncsu.edu/rrs/Leadership.html.
A panel discussion on Friday also will give participants a chance to ask the speakers about their career paths and hear their “words of wisdom,” Smith said.
“There are a lot of women in lower levels of management who want to move up in their agencies and this workshop can show them how to do that,” Smith said.
Although not all of the participants will stay overnight Thursday, the conference is expected to account for 45-50 hotel room bookings in addition to other travel expenditures added to the local economy. Smith said the conference also shows off Rocky Mount’s Parks and Recreation system to people from across the state.
“When people come here and they see what we have, they are really just blown away,” Smith said. “They are surprised a city our size has some of the facilities we have and that gives us an important presence in the state and shows how much Parks and Recreation is supported in our community.”