PBWC encourages women to strive, thrive in business

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A conference for businesswomen began 26 years ago as a way for women to get connected and branch out.

Some of the most successful business women in the country were in San Francisco on Tuesday. They shared ideas at the Professional BusinessWomen of California conference. ABC7 is a proud sponsor.

Put hundreds of business women together at a conference and they know how to ditch the office and join the party. They danced during a five-minute exercise break in the midst of many speeches and work groups offered at this conference. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, started Professional BusinessWomen of California 26 years ago.

"PBWC was never designed to be a pep rally, it was designed to be a cold, hard look at where we are, where we need to go and how we're going to get there," Speier said.

Since 1989, achieving gender equity has been the focus of this organization. Many would say we're not there yet.

Ellevate Network chair Sallie Krawcheck is a Wall Street financial wizard who believes the old boys' club can be dismantled. She told ABC7 News, "My friends out here and I joke, 'OK is Wall Street in worse shape or Silicon Valley?' Clearly there is not the type of gender diversity that represents our country at large."

The conference is a perfect networking opportunity for thousands of women in California.

PHOTOS: ABC7 at the 26th annual PBWC in San Francisco

"Women need to have each other's back and this is what this conference is doing. We heave each other's back," Kiwoba Allaire from Rocket Fuel said.

"I think the more women that we put in hiring roles, the more that will trickle down so we need more women leaders that will eventually lead to more jobs for other women," Ashley Massone from Cisco said.

The morning's keynote event was hosted by ABC7 News anchor Cheryl Jennings. The day ended with a keynote speech from one of the main speakers was TV and radio host Leeza Gibbons.

"Passion, faith, focus and keep your eye on the finish line, steady and consistent, that's really what wins the race in life and business," Gibbons said.

This year's theme was "Making the most of you."

PHOTOS: The 26th annual PBWC in San Francisco


Keynote speakers this year included:

  • Leeza Gibbons: Emmy Award-winning journalist, radio host, and acclaimed author

  • Soledad O'Brien: Award-winning journalist, documentarian, and news anchor

  • Leymah Gbowee: Nobel Peace Laureate, Liberian peace activist, trained social worker, and women's rights advocate

  • Sallie Krawcheck: Chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional woman's network

  • Carolyn Buck Luce: Co-founder and Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Talent Innovation

  • Jackie Speier: PBWC Founder and U.S. Congresswoman


  • The PBWC is a landmark event featuring inspiring speakers, interactive learning, and purposeful networking to help women achieve their ambitions both personally and professionally.

    ABC7 is proud to be a sponsor of this annual event that helps women in their professional development by aiding them in expanding their network, sharpening skills, inspiring ambitions, and developing professional talents to their fullest.

    The conference sold out with a record 5,500 attendees.

    Click here to download the PBWC App in the Apple App Store.

    Click here to donate to PBWC.

    Click here to join PBWC.

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