International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium

International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium

IWES 2020: Creating Value out of Chaos
March 9-10, 2020
University of Nevada, Reno
Joe Crowley Student Union

Register to attend

About the symposium

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship and The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, are excited to announce the 2nd annual International Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium. This event focuses on building a global community that supports each other’s work to engage, create, and grow companies founded by women, across all geographies and sectors. The growing community is comprised of students, academics, start-up founders, business owners, investors, government agencies, support organizations, and the community at large. The Symposium is purposefully organized to encourage the building of relationships amongst attendees by providing space for meaningful conversations, engaging debates, and the exploration of practical application.

This year’s Symposium on March 9-10 at the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno brings us world-class keynote speakers, dozens of amazing panelists, and seven breakout session panels focused on Entrepreneurship in various industries.

Keynote speakers

  • Kara Goldin, founder & CEO of Hint, Inc. has received numerous accolades, including being named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Northern California, one of In Style’s 2019 Badass 50, one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.
  • Laura Jackson, Conductor, Reno Phil. brings an ensemble of musicians to the Symposium to share her leadership insights with the business community in this dynamic and interactive workshop exploring management and communication issues common to every business.
  • Carolyne Ekyarisiima is a Mandela Washington Fellow, Obama Foundation collaborator, social entrepreneur, computer scientist and the founder of Apps and Girls, empowering girls in Africa to learn to code.
  • Siri Chilazi is a Harvard Research fellow who will share her research on Gender Equality in Venture Capital. Siri’s work is frequently featured in media outlets including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, New York Times and BBC.
  • Molly Troupe, Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits. In 2018 Molly was featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 for Food and Beverage and she is currently the youngest female Master Distiller in the United States.

General Admission of $295 includes opening reception, continental breakfast and luncheon.

Group Deal: Bundle of 3 tickets for $165/person!

Discounted rate of $100 available to students, founders, academic/government, and non-profits.

The dates, times and topics for the International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium.
Time Topic
Monday, March 9, 2020
12:30-1:15pm Registration & Networking
1:15-1:30pm Welcoming Remarks
1:30-2:15pm Keynote Speaker – Creating Value out of Chaos
2:15-3:00pm Marketing Workshop - Driving Growth in a New Business
3:00-3:30pm Networking & Break
3:30-4:30pm Advancing Gender Equality in Venture Capital with Siri Chilazi, Harvard Research Fellow
4:30-5:15pm Funding Chaos - Best Practices in Fundraising
5:15-5:45pm Day 1 Closing Keynote - Keeping Spirits Up with Molly Troupe, Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits
5:45-6:30pm Opening Reception
6:30-9:00pm Dine Around Dinners
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
8:30-9:00am Registration & Networking

Breakout Sessions

  • Social Entrepreneurship:
    • Amy Berry, CEO Tahoe Fund
    • Caren McNamara, Founder & CEO, Conscious Container
    • Kelly Northridge, Founder, Audacity Fund
    • Kristy Muir, CEO & Founder
    • Moderated by Doug Erwin, SVP, Entrpreneurial Development EDAWN
  • Food & Beverage:
    • Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network,
    • Christy Ross, Founder & CEO, Planted Places
    • Molly Troupe, Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits
    • Moderated by Shila Morris, President & Owner, Squeeze In Restaurant Group
  • Health & Wellness:
    • Deepa Prasad, Managing Director, West River Group
    • Camie Cragg Lyman, Founder Camie Cragg Fitness
    • Andi Kilgore, Chief of Staff, Flirtey
    • Moderated by Julie Ardito, APR, Senior Director of Advancement and Engagement, UNR School of Medicine
  • Entrepreneurship in the Arts:
    • Myrton Runningwolf, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer
    • Kris Vagner, Editor & Publisher, Double Scoop
    • Beth Macmillan, Executive Director, Artown
    • Moderated by Debra Moddelmog, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, UNR
  • Doing Business Globally:
    • Abi Weeds, CEO & Founder, Odylique
    • Relina Shirley, Co-Founder, HIDEIt Mounts
    • Danell Wilson-Perlman, Owner, Reno Tahoe Limo, CEO African Skies
  • Male-dominated Industries:
    • Karen Schlichting, Founder & Owner, Tri-Sage
    • Megan Lovelace, Founder & President, Facilicorp
    • Shari Pheasant, Founder & CEO, Horsepower Strategies
    • Karen Purcell, President, PK Electric
  • Climate & the Environment:
    • Eileen Christensen, President & Principal Scientist, BEC Environmental
    • Melissa Wendt, Director, Project Development, Ormat Technologies
    • Travis Johnson, VP of Operations, Renewable Energy Development, Liberty Utilities
10:00-11:30pm Leadership of Note: An Orchestral Metaphor with Laura Jackson, Conductor of the Reno Phil
11:30am-12:00pm Networking & Break
12:00-1:30pm Luncheon with Carolyne Ekyarisiima, Apps & Girls
1:30-1:45pm Networking & Break
1:45-2:15pm Ensuring Both You and Your People Thrive in Chaos
2:15-3:00pm Closing Keynote with Kara Goldin, CEO & Founder, Hint, Inc.
3:00-3:30pm Closing Remarks
What to expect

The 2nd Annual International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium brings together participants in the global women's entrepreneurship ecosystem to discuss and explore the topic of Creating Value out of Chaos.

Start-up founders and business owners can expect to:

  • Be supported in their journey to create value in their company
  • Learn ways to manage the chaos of the start-up life
  • Learn how to value themselves and their company
  • Learn how others have managed chaos and created value in their companies
  • Network with experts in creating value, investors, entrepreneurs, community support agents, and researchers

Attendees supporting founders either through investment, support, or research can expect to:

  • Learn how their messages and support are received by female entrepreneurs
  • Learn ways in which to better support female entrepreneurs through the chaos of start-up creation
  • Understand ways in which their services, support, financial support or research are valued by female entrepreneurs
  • Understand how to better bring value to female entrepreneurs
  • Network with entrepreneurs, and others supporting the female entrepreneurial ecosystem

The International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium attracts 250+ professionals from around the world from universities, non-profit and for-profit businesses, government agencies, and foundations and NGOs. The Symposium provides an ideal venue for exposure to top-level practitioners from around the world focused on supporting and growing companies founded by women. Sponsors, supporters, and exhibitors are critical to the success of the International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium. A variety of sponsorship levels and event activity sponsorships are available that offer high-profile attention and recognition to each sponsor organization. We welcome and appreciate your support of this event!

Sponsorship level costs and benefits.
Sponsorship levels Introduce the event or speaker Booth at symposium Logo & name on symposium materials Promotional materials in registration bag
Keynote Speaker - $10,000
Diamond - $5,000
Platinum - $3,500
Gold - $2,500
Silver - $1,000
Bronze - $500

* A limited number of event tickets will be made available to all sponsors commensurate with sponsorship level.

For more information and details about sponsorship opportunities please email our event staff at

Group hotel rates

The Renaissance Hotel- Marriot in downtown Reno will be hosting rooms for our speakers, panelists and attendees who are coming from out of the area. The Renaissance is only 1.5 miles from The University of Nevada, Reno and is conveniently located near the beautiful Truckee River, and many local downtown eateries and shops.

Book your group rate today.

Additional speakers and panelists

  • Abi Weeds, CEO and Founder, Odilyque. Operating out of the UK, Odilyque is a multi-national organic cosmetics brand with distribution in 15 countries and 4 e-commerce sites.
  • Amy Berry, CEO, Tahoe Fund. Amy has raised more than $9 million from private donors and more than $40 million in public funding to support critical projects around the Tahoe area.
  • Andi Kilgore, Chief of Staff, Flirtey. Andi was instrumental in the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone delivery in U.S. history conducted by Flirtey in 2015.
  • Caren McNamara, CEO & Founder, Conscious Container. Founded in 2017, Conscious Container is a California Benefit Corporation, designed to bring a refillable glass bottle marketplace back into the US economy and infrastructure.
  • Carlotta Mast, Market Leader, New Hope Network and SVP of Content, Informa Markets. Carlotta speaks frequently on industry trends, regulatory issues and market performance with media outlets including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, NPR, ABC News, BusinessWeek and many others.
  • Christy Ross, CEO & Founder, PlantedPlaces and MyVerticalFarm. Christy is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in technology start-ups and high growth companies - primarily consumer e-commece and finance technology.
  • Danell Wilson-Perlman, CEO of African Skies Travel Connection LLC and co-owner of Reno Tahoe Limousine and Reno Tahoe Transportation. Danell’s Amplify Journeys program takes women entrepreneurs on a 12-day cultural/wisdom exchange experience to Southern Africa.
  • Debra Moddelmog, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of English, University of Nevada, Reno. Moddelmog has published five scholarly books and over 30 essays. She is co-organizer of the Northern Nevada Women’s Leadership Initiative.
  • Deepa Prasad, Managing Director, West River Group. Deepa holds 20 years of experience across various realms in healthcare from venture capital, healthcare M&A investment banking, legislation for hospitals and consulting for healthcare companies.
  • Douglas Erwin, Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at EDAWN. Doug is a serial entrepreneur turned nonprofit executive who cofounded six companies in different industries including eCommerce, software development, medical diagnostics and consumer products manufacturing.
  • Eddy Goldwasser. CEO & Owner, Small World Toys, a national distributor of specialty toys and educational products to small stores and school distributors
  • Eileen Christensen, Principal & Founder of BEC Environmental, Inc. Eileen is a Nevada Certified Environmental Manager with over 25 years of experience. Since 2002, BEC has secured, on behalf of clients, federal grant awards totaling over $14 million and economic development support services that have provided a return on investment of over $900 million.
  • Jeffrey Ogan, SBA Loan Officer, US Bank. Mr. Ogan has been in Commercial lending for over 10 years and has helped to fund over $5O Million for small and growing businesses.
  • Julie Ardito, APR, Sr. Director of Advancement & Engagement, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Ardito joined UNR Med in 2017 and brings more than 25 years of strategic marketing communications experience to the school.
  • Karen Purcell, P.E., Founder, Owner, and President of PK Electrical, Inc., a thirty-six person electrical engineering, design, and consulting firm with offices in Reno, NV and Denver, CO, and is author of the book, Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
  • Karen Schlichting, P.E., Owner, Tri Sage Consulting. Tri Sage has grown over the past 17 years to now serve clients like PG&E, NV Energy and multiple high profile developers within the renewable energy arena.
  • Kay Salerno & Shila Morris, Owners, Squeeze In Restaurant Group. Shi and Kay’s people-focused marketing strategies have helped them grow their business to 8 figures in 4 states, with hundreds of employees, thousands of fans and millions in revenue annually. Kay and Shila now seek to share their journey and expertise with other entrepreneurs through their appointment as Marketing Faculty for the John Maxwell Team.
  • Kelly Northridge, Managing Partner, the Audacity Institute. Kelly is also CFO/CSO of Conscious Container. She holds a BS in International Business and Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno, an MBA from Cornell University, a Master’s in Public Health from UCLA, and a Doctorate in Innovation from the University of Oxford.
  • Kris Vagner is a freelance arts and culture journalist and the editor of Double Scoop, Nevada's online visual arts magazine.
  • Kristy Muir, Founder & CEO, FuzePlay. FuzePlay is an open source EdTech platform that enables educators to teach coding in K-12 classrooms through project-based learning. Kristy has been awarded Utah Business Top Ten Startups to Watch, Utah’s Coolest Entrepreneur 2018, and the Peak 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs.
  • Megan Lovelace, Founder & CEO, FaciliCorp, provider of construction and relocation management services to many of Silicon Valley’s most notable companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Seagate, eBay, Netscape/AOL, SAP, Genentech, Twitter, Yelp and more. Megan sold FaciliCorp in 2015.
  • Dr. Myrton Running Wolf is a multi-award winning film/theater writer, director, and producer as well as performer and “Race and Media” scholar. He has worked behind-the-scenes in Production Management for Walt Disney Studio’s ABC Television Group on primetime series LOST, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, and Criminal Minds and as a Creative Producer for The CW and NBC network television affiliates.
  • Nancy O’Neal, Professor, Division of Business and Social Sciences at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), is the faculty lead for TMCC’s entrepreneurship program. Prior to TMCC she taught in the College of Business at University of Reno, Nevada (UNR) for 10 years. She has worked for various large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, General Dynamics and Arthur Anderson.
  • Relina Shirley, Co-Founder & CEO of HIDEit Mounts. HIDEit has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company for the last 2 years; in 2018 at #339, HIDEit topped the list of Inc. 5000 companies in Northern Nevada.
  • Shari Pheasant, the Queen of Horsepower, has been an entrepreneur for the last 32 years and successfully coaches other entrepreneurs to greatness. By 23 years of age, she was managing one of the largest women clothing chains in the nation, 120 women producing 8.2 million a year in revenue. In addition, her shop, A Master Mechanic is nationally acclaimed in the industry and has a loyal following of female clients.

Register to Attend

Join us March 9 and 10, 2020 at the University of Nevada, Reno in Reno, Nevada, USA. Discounted tickets are available for students, start-up founders and academic/government agencies. A limited number of scholarships are available for students.

For more information, contact us at