BOSTON, Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Now is again the time to draw upon our most courageous selves," Anita Hill told a sold-out audience of 11,000 at the 12th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women on Thursday, December 8th. "So…we can say we did everything in our power to end sexual harassment, assault and gender discrimination." Speaking twenty-five years after her landmark testimony about sexual harassment in the workplace during the Senate confirmation hearing of then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, Hill, now a civil rights activist and a professor at Brandeis University, said she told her story in 1991, despite the controversy, because "access to equal justice for all was at stake." She concluded, "Twenty-five years ago I found my voice and I will not lose it again."
Themed "The Power of Us: Amplify Your Voice," this year's conference also featured keynote addresses from Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and Gayle King, co-host of "CBS This Morning" and editor-at-large, O, The Oprah Magazine; Carla Harris, Wall Street executive and author; Annie Clark, whose campaign against campus sexual assault is featured in the documentary film "The Hunting Ground"; and Kevin O'Leary, entrepreneur, business mogul and judge, "Shark Tank". Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh addressed attendees, as did Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
In addition to a standout lineup of keynote speakers, the nonpartisan, nonprofit event featured breakout sessions led by more than 100 industry experts about topical issues including leadership, personal branding, philanthropy, health and wellness, finance, work-life balance, media and professional development. Conference attendees participated in social media and small business roundtables, LinkedIn makeover workshops and resume reviews.
For the second year, the conference presented the Workplace Summit on Wednesday, December 7th with Mike Abrashoff, New York Times best-selling author, "It's Your Ship" and Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior advisor to the executive director of UN Women, and head of the #HeForShe Global Movement. Designed for both men and women in mid-level management positions, the Workplace Summit focused on leveraging gender partnerships to advance parity within workplaces.
The Conference also hosted its second annual Opening Night event on December 7th, providing a taste of the sold-out Conference to more than 2,300 attendees. Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller "Love Warrior" and renowned Momastery.com blogger, delivered the Opening Night keynote address. Opening Night attendees also heard keynote speeches from health and wellness advocates, authors, bloggers and political commentators; met best-selling authors at book signings, received free consultations on their personal brand and shopped for the holidays among 100+ local women-owned exhibitors.
"What started as a desire to bring women together from across the region has grown into a full-fledged movement," said Marian L. Heard, vice chair of the board of the Massachusetts Conference for Women. "Now in its 12th year, the Conference has added Opening Night and the Workplace Summit, providing vital platforms for women to chart new paths in both their professional and personal lives, while serving their communities as well."
The Massachusetts Conference for Women is generously underwritten by the following sponsors: State Street; Dell; Merck KGaA; Cisco; Boston Scientific; HOLOGIC; Morgan Lewis; National Grid; Raytheon; ThermoFisher; Tyco; Akamai; Amazon; Bank of America; Bose; Comcast; Fresenius Medial Care; Harvard Business School; John Hancock; Johnson and Johnson; Kronos; Liberty Mutual; Ocean Spray; riverbed; Shire; Silicon Valley Bank; Suffolk; Tripadvisor; BainCapital; Crimson Lion; Alex and Ani; Amtrak; Bentley Center for Women and Business; Blue Cross; BMW; LUNA; Merck; MFS; Poo-Pourri; Reebok; United; Vertex; Weber Shandwick and media partners: AMP Radio; Mix 104.1; WBZ News Radio; The Boston Globe; and WCVB 5.
"State Street is proud to sponsor this exciting lineup of courageous and dynamic speakers who are addressing issues of women in the workplace and society head on," said Alison Quirk, chief human resources and citizenship officer for State Street Corporation. "Now, more than ever, the Conference is filling a crucial need by empowering women for professional and personal growth."
To learn more about the Massachusetts Conference for Women, please visit http://www.maconferenceforwomen.org, follow us on Twitter or visit our Facebook page. Photos of the event may be accessed via Getty Images.
MEDIA CONTACT: KAREN BRESLAU
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SOURCE Massachusetts Conference for Women