Written by Chelsea Ohlemiller

Thursday, March 21, 2024, marked a day of extraordinary significance as 250 women from central Indiana gathered for the inaugural INspire Her Leadership Summit. It was a day filled with collaboration, inspiration, and empowerment as women came together to uplift each other and pave the way for a brighter future.

The event began with a keynote discussion featuring Jenny Just from Poker Power, a company she co-founded with her daughter. Their mission? To empower women with skills such as confidence, strategic thinking, and decision-making through the game of poker. Jenny’s words set a powerful tone for the day ahead.

Moderated by Denise Herd, the keynote was just the beginning. The summit featured insightful panels with trailblazing women such as Marianne Glick, Deborah Hearn Smith, and Carolene Mays, moderated by Anne Marie Tiernon. These women shared their stories, their struggles, and their triumphs, inspiring all who listened. There were laughs, there were tears, and there were new goals formed listening to the trajectory of each woman’s lives and legacy.

Attendees had the opportunity to participate in engaging breakout sessions led by accomplished businesswomen from Indiana. These sessions were not just about learning new skills; they were about forging connections and building a community of strong, empowered women.

A meaningful highlight of the day was the Mission Marketplace, which showcased dozens of central Indiana nonprofits. It gave guests the opportunity to learn about the organizations and their missions, encouraging each attendee to find ways to align their talents and values with worthy causes.

The day concluded with an interactive activity led by HopeAnchor & Crew, where guests created bracelets representing their unique experience at the event. It was a powerful symbol of unity and strength, a reminder of the purpose of the day and the accountability to act towards the new goals envisioned.

The INspire Her Leadership Summit was more than just a one-day event. It was a call to action, urging women to come together, to support each other, and to create a more inclusive and promising tomorrow. It was a day that highlighted volunteer opportunities, job opportunities, and collaborative opportunities in the nonprofit space and beyond.

We are already looking forward to next year’s summit and await the stories of all the work and advocacy that happens between now and then. This incredible summit reminded us that together we can create a world where every woman and girl in Indiana has the opportunity to thrive.

This entire event was crafted by the vision of Danielle Shockey and made a reality by the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, partnering with Pass the Torch for Women and the Indiana Girl Coalition—proving that together incredible opportunities and achievements are not just possible but have the ability to shape the future in meaningful ways.

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