4,000 women expected at PBWC conference


Twenty-four years ago, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, came up with a way to bring professional women together at one venue.

"It started as a way to get women together to sort of talk about what was going on and what some of the challenges were in their day-to-day lives and challenges with their careers," said Rene Kim with the Professional Businesswomen of California.

That one-day gathering is now called the Premier Conference For Women In Business -- a must-do event for women trying to achieve gender equality at work.

"You haven't seen the kind of progression in women in very senior positions that you would expect in the course of 24 years' time," said Kim.

Following the March release of her book Lean In Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg will be one of the guest speakers. From that book, an organization and website were created called LeanIn.org that supports and gives advice to professional women on how to achieve their goals.

"And it's been really wonderful," said Rachel Masters, co-Founder of Red Magnet Media.

The organization encourages women like Rachel Masters to join "Lean In Circles" -- small groups that meet monthly to encourage and support each other.

"It's kind of like a book club, but instead of talking about books you talk about how you can all help each other achieve each other's goals," said Masters.

Rachel Thomas is the president and one of the founders of LeanIn.org. She acknowledges most workplaces have not adapted to the needs of working mothers. She believes that will change if more women reach top, key positions -- so far, Thomas says, that number stands at only 14 percent.

"But certainly if we move that 14 percent number at the top, we believe that will bring about a lot of change," said Thomas.

There will be about 4,000 women will be attending the conference in hopes of learning how to push for change.

ABC7 News anchor Carolyn Johnson will be the keynote speaker with actress Rita Moreno and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. ABC7 News anchor Cheryl Jennings will be the keynote speaker in the morning session with Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Rep. Jackie Speier.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.