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Posted: April 20, 2015 Women's Business Conference is approaching

The 12th Annual Women’s Business Conference, presented by the Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at the Plaza Hotel & Suites in Eau Claire, WI.

The conference is expected to attract more than 500 business owners, aspiring business owners, entrepreneurs and exhibitors from five states. This year’s conference features 100 exhibitors and 20 educational sessions on business basics, marketing, finance, and current trends in business. One-on-one business counseling will be available throughout the day.

Sondra Duden, owner of Sondra Duden Coaching, will start the conference with a welcome address at 8:15 am. Duden will tell her story filled with challenges, transitions and ultimately breakthroughs in business, life and in her faith. Her professional path took her to Veterinary Medicine, but her personal journey put her on a road of entrepreneurship, direct sales, and ultimately the launching of her own business. Titled “Be Brave, Have Courage, Be You,” her welcome address will encourage participants to step into their potential through a new concept of courage.

The keynote address will be delivered by Sarah J. Smith, founder and president of Sarah’s Hope Jewelry. Started in 2004, Sarah’s Hope Jewelry provides microloans and small business training to entrepreneurial women in impoverished situations in the United States and worldwide. The company is based on principles that keep the interests of customers, producers, and people in impoverished situations at heart. The domestic and international supply chains are managed in-house where Business As Mission (BAM) remains central to the work that is done.

Sarah combines a background in business and pastoral ministries that shapes the mission and message of Sarah’s Hope Jewelry. She has experience in corporate America, with Ford Motor Company, and has owned three businesses. Sarah has a Doctorate of Theology in Homiletics (University of Toronto, Canada), a Master of Theology in Homiletics (Princeton), a Master of Divinity (Southern Seminary) and a Bachelor of Business Administration (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Conference participants will attend four educational sessions throughout the day and may choose from the following topics:

  • Business Plan Basics
  • The Basic of Target Market Analysis
  • Casting the Networking Net
  • Your Customers are Waiting to Get to Know You
  • How to Leverage your Certification Through Social Media
  • Business Insurance
  • Improve Your Marketing Plan with Free & Inexpensive Marketing Ideas
  • Mom-preneurs
  • Succession Planning for Small Businesses
  • Food Industry Roundtable
  • Discovering Your True Talents
  • Crafting Your Video Message
  • Top 5 Techniques for Making Your Website Googlicious
  • Valuing a Business: Why it Involves More than Just Applying a Multiple
  • The Art of Business
  • Business Success Stories
  • Developing Your Brand: The 3 Components to Making You Stand Out
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Funders Panel
  • Reducing Regulatory Burdens

The 2015 Women’s Business Conference is presented by the non-profit Western Dairyland Community Action Agency and the Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center, which is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The conference is sponsored by more than 40 businesses and organizations, including Mix 98.1, WQOW TV-18, the Leader-Telegram, Volume One, Fork Studios Photography, The Plaza Hotel & Suites, Green Oasis Gardens, and Weld, Riley, Prenn & Ricci SC.

Registration for the full day is $69 before April 27th or $89 after April 27th. Lunch is included. Partial scholarships are available for students and income-eligible individuals. For more information or to register, call 715-836-7511, ext. 1171 or visit



Western Dairyland Community Action Agency is a non-profit human services organization serving Buffalo, Eau Claire, Jackson, and Trempealeau Counties.  The agency was established in 1966 to alleviate poverty related conditions and provide opportunities that enable people to advance economically and socially.  More information is available at

The Western Dairyland Business Centers work with startup, existing, and expanding businesses in the Western Dairyland Community Action Agency’s service area of Eau Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau and Buffalo counties.  The Business Centers’ services are designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to individualized as well as group business training, referrals, financing, technology, and ongoing business case management services.  For more info go to

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.  Contact Western Dairyland, 418 Wisconsin St., Eau Claire, WI, 715-836-7511 ext. 1171 to make arrangements. This agency is an equal opportunity provider.

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