Ignite Your Entrepreneurial Spirit at the Annual INSPIRE Women’s Business Conference in Lacey Hosted by the Thurston Economic Development Council

Dr. Jennifer Thomas (pictured) has started and built her business through the support of the WCWB and will be a featured speaker at the INSPIRE conference. Photo courtesy: Dr. Jennifer Thomas

The Washington Center for Women in Business has been a huge proponent of supporting women-owned businesses, and through the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) they are offering powerful ways to grow your business. Every year they host a special event to empower and connect female business owners, and it is back next week! Register now for the annual INSPIRE Women’s Business Conference being held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the South Puget Sound Community College campus in Lacey. Register to save your spot!

Large group of women sitting at round tables listening to a speaker
The INSPIRE Women’s Business Conference will be held on the South Puget Sound Community College campus in Lacey. Registration is open online now. Seating is limited. Photo courtesy: Washington Center for Women in Business

Inspiration and Empowerment at INSPIRE Business Conference in Lacey

This all-day event is the perfect opportunity to get inspired and meet like-minded business owners in your own community. “INSPIRE was created to allow women business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across Washington to come together to network, learn from others, and keep up with business trends,” shares Washington Center for Women in Business Program Manager Ashley Whitley. “The theme INSPIRE means to inspire others to pursue their dreams or to go to that next level in business.”

Some of the topics that will be presented and discussed at this year’s event include overcoming business ownership hurdles, learning more about different industries through a Q&A format, a deep dive on e-commerce, SBA loans, government contracting, and the benefits of being women-owned certified.

In addition, INSPIRE is the perfect space to promote your business and share your products with the community. Inviting women-owned businesses to attend as vendors gives them a unique opportunity to not only connect with fellow female entrepreneurs, but share their amazing impact on the community directly by displaying their work. “The Washington Center for Women in Business wants to use its network and resources to make it possible for women to obtain their goals quicker as well as sustain their businesses long-term,” explains Ashley. “INSPIRE is the chance to truly make a difference in the women-ownership community. This is about women, and the more we can shine a light on them, the more we are aligned with our organization’s mission.”  

The event is always eager to accept sponsors who are equally committed to and supportive of women-owned businesses, especially since most of the funding from sponsorships goes right back into sustaining the services that make this possible. Free education, cohort, and coaching is provided through the Washington Center for Women in Business to remove barriers to business ownership for women, and this funding makes a huge impact. “This conference will continue to grow each year and impact not only the women we serve, but the state’s economic growth overall,” Ashley says. “We always welcome sponsors to support and promote the growing network of women entrepreneurs in Washington state.” If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, reach out to the WCWB directly at info@wcwb.org.  

Make Your Dream Business a Reality with the Washington Center for Women in Business

INSPIRE is designed specifically to promote networking and empowerment amongst female business owners in the community. Established and successful entrepreneurs will be providing valuable insight throughout the day to help fellow women-owned businesses, including speaker Dr. Jennifer Thomas, who recently started her very own business Chameleon O’Clock with the help of the Washington Center for Women in Business. “Dr. Jennifer Thomas has started her business through the coaching and resources of the WCWB, and has continued to pursue her passions and utilize her skillset regardless of obstacles or outside negativity,” Ashley says. “Her determined mindset is what it takes to be a successful business owner, and I am excited to see where her journey takes her.”

Dr. Jennifer Thomas with her family standing in front of a US flag
Dr. Jennifer Thomas is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share her story of entrepreneurship and inspire other women to pursue their dreams of business ownership. Photo courtesy: Dr. Jennifer Thomas

Thomas launched her business in the summer of 2023 and wrote and published her own book “It’s Time For You to Shine: A Story of Finding Strength in the Midst of Anxiety and Fear.” Her mission is to empower individuals and organizations to embrace their true colors unapologetically, and as she embarked on this transformative journey, she sought the guidance of the Washington Center for Women in Business. “The WCWB has been instrumental in my journey, and provided me with practical resources, support, and networking opportunities to help me navigate throughout he challenges of starting and growing a business,” Thomas shares. “Though it seemed like a slow start, I always keep Ashley’s words and advice close to me. The WCWB’s commitment to empowering women has made a significant impact on my personal and professional growth.”

As an advocate for women’s empowerment, Thomas is greatly looking forward to talking at the INSPIRE Women’s Business Conference as a featured speaker. “Being able to speak at the upcoming INSPIRE event is an incredible honor and a wonderful opportunity to share my journey,” she says. “I truly hope that my speech resonates with the women in the audience, fostering a sense of connection and solidarity as we navigate the entrepreneurship and life journey together. I am so grateful for the support the WCWB and EDC has provided. I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage these resources as I believe in their potential to make a positive impact in their industry.”

Join Fellow Washington Women Business Owners at INSPIRE

This event will be an incredible day full of connection, growth, and inspiration. It’s an event you won’t want to miss if you have an established business or have been considering starting your own, so be sure to register now to save your spot!

INSPIRE Women’s Business Conference
May 23, 2024, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
South Puget Sound Community College, Lacey Campus
4220 6th Avenue SE, Lacey


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