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The Women's Professional Development, Leadership and Engagement Conference.

Engage with the Women's Business Center of South Carolina in this 3-day professional development and leadership conference located on the Columbia College campus, geared towards developing your management and authentic leadership abilities.

Who Should Attend?

This program is for women who are mid to senior-level leaders, in any industry, who manage teams. If you work with others to deliver results, this program is for you.

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For Companies

Companies with a gender-diverse leadership team are more profitable. Women's innate qualities lend well to being effective leaders, but they also need an environment that supports them in displaying these qualities. Moreover, how can you leverage the potential of women leaders in your company? By helping them identify their strengths, develop BRAVE Leadership skills, and learn to lead from within.
By sending your company’s women leaders to this conference, you are giving them the opportunity to find their inner strength, and maximize their leadership potential while they connect with other women leaders who can offer support. 

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For Individuals

Women in corporate leadership have unique challenges. We must navigate the gender double-bind, be aware of how many other women are at the table, and think of ways to include more women in leadership roles while advancing the corporate mission. As a leader, it is difficult to make conscious decisions until you are clear about what is driving your choices and behaviors.


This program is designed to help examine the lenses through which women see the world and how to lead themselves.  Participants will discover and appreciate that leadership comes from within. You will have a deeper appreciation for and celebrate their gifts and strengths as a woman leader in business.

By learning to be your authentic self, you will become a compassionate leader who inspires and engages your team members.

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About the Program

The program is highly experiential and engaging. Participants can expect to join small group dialogues, large group discussions, paired interviews, simulations, and individual reflection. There will be opportunities to meaningfully interact with other women in the program who may be your peers, coaches, and thinking partners.


Below is a sample of what you will experience in the Women’s Leadership Program. Content and actual schedule are subject to change.

About the Progrm

DAY ONE: Navigating You: Who We are is How We Lead.

On our first day together, we will learn how to make decisions driven by inspiration, compassion, and engagement, rather than fear.

Entire Group Session 
World Café™: A Peer-to-peer Exploration of Authenticity

During the afternoon, we will use a World Café™ format to reflect on our learning from the morning sessions. We will also explore the expectations we set for ourselves and how that influences our ability to show up authentically, especially when we find ourselves in less than supportive contexts.


DAY TWO: Navigating Your Relationships, Authenticity and Engagement Are Contagious.

As we learn to lead ourselves from inspiration and engagement instead of fear, we inspire others to do the same. During this second day, we learn what it looks like to bravely and compassionately lead others from our strengths in tangible and intangible ways.

Entire Group Session
Igniting our Teams’ Innovative Capacity in Times of Complexity and Uncertainty

How do you lead during times of uncertainty or chaos? Have you ever considered there may be upsides to working with chaos? In this session, we will experientially and thoughtfully consider the ways in which we tend to lead through chaos and uncertainty. Then informed by the wisdom of the Chaordic Path, we will learn how to lead with chaordic confidence as we convene the brilliance, energy, and authenticity of our teams to generate innovative solutions to our most daunting problems.

Entire Group Session
Open Space Technology

In our final session together, you will engage in peer-to-peer conversations that matter most to you. Using Open Space Technology we will invite you and your colleagues to determine a Marketplace of topics or questions of interest. Then you decide which conversations you want to join. We will wrap up with each group sharing a few highlights of their conversations so you can learn from all the sessions.

DAY THREE: The Impact of Trauma on Who We Are, How We Live, and 
How We Lead

Day 3 will be led by Dr. Shirley Huisman, MSW, LISW-CP/S, PhD



Participants will each receive a certificate from this program that indicates:

  • Received a StrengthsFinder® Leaders' report and participate in a group debrief session

  • Been introduced to core Energy Leadership®, Dare to Lead® principles, and Participatory Leadership

  • Experienced the World Café™ and Open Space Technology methodologies for hosting large-group dialog and collaboration

  • Trauma-Informed Management


Pricing includes all food, beverages and program materials



Katie Brandt


Katie Brandt is an organizational development consultant and executive coach. She partners with business leaders to help them bring courage, compassion, and connection into the workplace so that people can do their best work. Her mission is to transform organizational cultures by creating psychologically safe spaces. Brandt started her own business in 2005, shortly after working as a senior organizational development consultant at a global Fortune 100 company. She is certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and was trained directly by Brené Brown to facilitate the Dare to Lead™ program. Other certifications include the Energy Leadership™ Index Assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, EQi-2.0®, and EQ360®. She holds a BS in psychology from Indiana University and an MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Purdue University.


Brandt and her husband, Chris, live in Ellicott City, Maryland. They have two daughters in college. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries, hiking, yoga, rock hopping, swimming, ping pong, playing games, and spending time with her family. 


Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back. 

Program Collaborators

Program Facilitators

Days 1 and 2 of this conference are facilitated by the Guarrine Group (tGG), a global training company based in Illinois. TGG has facilitated team building, leadership, and organizational development workshops for more than 30 years.


TGG partners with excellent facilitators who help groups have FUN*, which is a hallmark of tGG. FUN* refers to meeting people’s fundamental universal needs. FUN* activities (i.e., play) help increase engagement and creativity, and enhances decision-making while making learning less intimidating, more accessible, and memorable. Dr. Andrew Huberman (neuroscientist at Stanford University), stated that play is one of the most powerful ways to maintain and increase neuroplasticity.

*FUN means Fundamental Universal Needs


Day 3 of this conference will be delivered by Dr. Shirley J. Huisman, MSW, LISW-CP/S, PhD with support from local Trauma Informed practitioners.

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