One of the co-founders of the Indiana Conference For Women says continued increased demand will lead to a venue change next year. This year’s event, being held today at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, has drawn a sold out crowd of about 1,800. Billie Dragoo says, because of an expected 30 percent jump in ticket sales, next year’s conference will return to the Indiana Convention Center. This year’s keynote speakers include Miss America Organization Executive Chair Gretchen Carlson, actress and author Retta and legal researcher Erin Brockovich.
Dragoo says this year’s conference sold out a few weeks ago. She is expecting attendance of about 2,200 next year, making the move back to the Indiana Convention Center necessary. The event began in 2011 and is billed as "the largest gathering of professional and entrepreneurial women in the Midwest."
She says one of the biggest priorities moving forward will be securing more funding. Dragoo tells Inside INdiana Business that the conference costs about $1 million to put on, so the nonprofit organization will be looking for more funding to put it on. In addition, she says organizers want to provide scholarships to women who are unable to afford to attend the conference.
Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick provided opening remarks and Executive Producer Tracy Chen led the luncheon session by interviewing Retta.
Other speakers included researcher and author Leah Weiss, author Laura Vanderkam, psychologist and researcher Suzanne Johnson Vickberg, professor, researcher and author Catherine Sanderson, author Sally Helgesen, Creative Energy Options President Sylvia Lafair, artist and entrepreneur Amber Rae and Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) Chief Diversity Officer Joy Fitzgerald.
Dragoo says preparation for the 2019 conference is already underway.