Nikki Haley


The College of Charleston School of Business is doubling down on its commitment to diversity and inclusion by hosting the 2020 Women for Women Summit, a day-long conference where attendees will celebrate, elevate, share and connect with the women of South Carolina.

The inaugural event, presented by the College of Charleston School of Business, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 at Sterling Hall of Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District and feature specials guests including former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Haley, a woman who put the state of South Carolina on the national and international stage, will receive the 2020 Woman of Courage Award during the event and will give the afternoon keynote address.

“The School of Business is honored to host the Women for Women Summit and celebrate the accomplishments that Nikki Haley has made in her remarkable career,” says Alan T. Shao, Ph.D., dean of the College of Charleston School of Business and a Women for Women speaker. “Given our close ties to the business community, it is important that we remain dedicated to supporting and encouraging the next generation of women in South Carolina to become leaders in their respective industries.”

The programming of the Summit will allow attendees to broaden their networks, learn new skills and be inspired to advance in their professional and personal lives through panel discussions, workshops, a luncheon and an award presentation. Additionally, there will be a marketplace featuring local women-owned-and-operated businesses.

Joanna Lau, founder and CEO of executive consulting and investment company Lau Technologies, member of the School of Business Board of Governors and visionary of the event, says the idea of the Women for Women Summit was inspired by her daughter.

“Having been a woman in business for the past three decades, as well a mother to a young professional woman, I am humbled to promote the advancement of women in the workplace and the economy with our first-ever Women for Women Summit,” says Lau. “Studies have shown one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness is social connection. It is my hope that the Summit fosters personal and professional success for attendees through a shared sense of community.”

In addition to Haley, Shao and Lau, other featured speakers include Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America and the Most Powerful Woman in Banking according to American Banker; Gloria Larson, former president of Bentley University; and Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder of 2020 Women on Boards — a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by 2020.

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