CARMEL - The organizer of an inaugural gathering designed to connect leaders of certified women-owned businesses with suppliers and purchasing professionals calls the Great Lakes Women's Business Council Symposium a "door-opener." Great Lakes WBC Member Services Manager Meechelle Parker says participants receive networking opportunities and one-on-one exposure to some big names headquartered in the state, including Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY), and outside the state like Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K).

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter, Mary-Rachel Redman, Parker discussed the importance of bringing together business owners and high-level decision-makers. "This is an exceptional opportunity for WBENC-certified businesses to leverage their certification," Parker said. "Attendees will build many fruitful business connections and have an opportunity to conduct six months of sales prospecting in one day."

Events at the symposium are geared toward addressed needs of young and veteran business owners alike. It included workshops for executives of certified women-owned businesses and corporate members of the Great Lakes WBC, workshops, a presentation from former three-time White House appointee Susan Phillips Bari and a "Meet the Buyers" program for WBENC-certified business owners.

The Great Lakes WBC is based in Michigan and represents more than 1,300 Women's Business Enterprise National Council-certified enterprises.