Embrace Your Journey!

You're invited to join our community at the Empowering Women's Conference & Expo Benefiting the Evanston Women's Business Center.

Embrace your journey and receive expert advice from local organizations and women-owned businesses.  From career, motherhood (parenting), caregiving, love, wellness, and more! Receive tip, tools, and resources on how to enhance and balance your life.   




Attend a SCREAM SESSION, "Outcry" and belly out your voice with the #METOO Movement! with Artist, Whitney Bradshaw whitneybradshaw.com 

Register Today

Cost to Attend $40 Includes
Valet parking, Lunch (Farmhouse), All Day Conference
T-Shirt Good Bag & Social Hour

If you would like to attend, and need a complimentary ticket, please email evanstonwoman@gmail.com

It is important we all come together to celebrate sisterhood. 


Event Itinerary Each Session is 45 min.

Registration:           8am
First Sessions:         9am
Second Sessions:   10am
Third Sessions:       11am
      Lunch   12pm at Farmhouse
Fourth Sessions:      2pm
Fifth Sessions           3pm
Social Hour:             4pm

EXPO is from 9am – 5pm 

I would like to attend

Meet the Speakers

Living Without Limits: Banishing Fear and Doubt to Create Your Best Life


Speaker: Apryl Schlueter, The Cheerful Mind

What could you achieve if you were able to overcome your fears? Often times, our deepest aspirations and dreams are squashed by fear in the form of guilt, self-doubt, comparison, or our inner critic. While it's normal to have fear, there is a way to overcome it in order to manifest the things you want most in life. Join Apryl Schlueter, Chief Energy! Officer of The Cheerful Mind as she shares tools to conquer fear and achieve the success you crave. It's time to claim your power over fear and truly live a life of abundance, freedom, and fulfillment.


Apryl Zarate Schlueter is the Chief Energy! Officer of The Cheerful Mind, Inc. -- a Happiness/Productivity Coach and Lifestyle Mentor for High Achievers, Speaker, Author of Finding Success in Balance: My Journey to The Cheerful Mind, and host of the internet shows Cheerful Conversations and Authentic Living. Apryl helps high achievers streamline their lives to make time for more joy, balance, and ease. Using strategies of productivity, goal-setting, and planning infused with personal development methodologies, including positive mindset, stress management, and self-care to help curb overwhelm and guilt that results from a busy lifestyle, she helps people have more fun while getting stuff done! Learn more about Apryl’s work at thecheerfulmind.com

You’re in Charge, Marge! Who’s Making the Medical Decisions?


Speaker: Karen Kopan, Intensive Karen

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the responsibility of making healthcare decisions falls mainly on women. You may be the responsible caregiver asked to make healthcare choices for a loved one in a serious medical condition. You might not have the luxury of time to make these choices. You might not have the information from your loved one to know what to do. You may not even trust the team of professionals that you are meeting for the first time. You need a practical way to help you through all of the information. An advance directive is the most effective way to carry out wishes for a loved one who is unable to speak for themselves. Having the conversations now can provide comfort and confidence when it is most needed. This session will cover the basics of advance directives and making tough medical decisions.


Lessons in Love: Every Relationship Is A Test Master Yours and Start Receiving the Love You Deserve


Speaker: Dr. Tari Mack

In love, we are given the same lessons over and over until we learn them. Once we can "see" the lessons we can begin to respond differently, "learn" the lesson, pass the test, and move forward on our path of growth and toward love. 

Dr. Mack will cover topics in her upcoming book including: 

Boundaries - we teach people how to treat us. The importance of knowing what is our work and what is somebody else's

How to Change a Frustrating Relationship Dynamic 

Unconscious Attraction - even though we say we want a certain kind of partner, we often choose partners who will have difficulty meeting our needs. Learning to make the unconscious conscious will allow us to shift and change and choose partners who can meet our needs 

The “magic bullet” that dictates our ability to create and maintain healthy and joyful relationships. 

Red Flag Behaviors - How to recognize them and when to leave

How To Deal With Rejection 

Participants will come away with new awareness and tools about their specific lessons in love and tools to help them get started transforming their dating and relationships right away. 


An Empowered Woman: Finding Power from Within


Speaker: Jennifer Dunitz-Geiringer, JD, MSW Education & Career Specialist Career Development Center

In today’s highly charged political climate there are as many definitions of “power” as there are people to ask. There are issues that divide us and causes that separate us. Without minimizing the very real institutional structures and struggles with which women have to contend, Jennifer Dunitz-Geiringer, JD, MSW, suggests focusing inwards as the first step towards claiming a true sense of power. Rather than focusing exclusively on external sources of victimization, or defining power as fighting against “the other”, fighting against, Ms. Dunitz-Geiringer will speak about the power that all women may claim by focusing inward and galvanizing their own sense of internal strength as they interact and compete within the world around them. Part of this journey inward includes an honest self-examination of all of the facets of their lives, their histories, their experiences, their triumphs and their challenges. By finding a way to integrate their entire self, especially including rather than hiding their vulnerabilities, women can move forward in their lives with a sense of who they are and what they value. Once they are secure in their own sense of internal power, women can find the strength to share that power with the world around them in a way that both honors their differences and also recognizes the things that they have in common. In this way, power can be used as a force to unite us and lift us all up together.

Informed Consent: What’s Pelvic Health Got To Do With It?


Speakers:  Suzanne Badillo, PT, WCS and Judith Florendo, PT, DPT

Link Physical Therapy

The pelvis. It is the center of our physical universe. Our most essential and intimate functions occur in the pelvis. As pelvic health physical therapists, we help women understand and regain control of this part of the body. Knowledge is power. We believe the education we provide is the key to improving a woman’s health. How does “consent” figure into this? Consent is defined as “giving permission for something to happen.” The #MeToo movement has ignited the discussion about the importance of consent, but what does it really mean? “Informed Consent” is a term used in healthcare to grant permission with full knowledge of the possible consequences, risks, benefits, and options. As women, are we fully informed and educated about our physical bodies to give proper consent to others? Do we know what are normal and acceptable sensations to feel and to talk about? Women are now paying the price of inadequate sex education that lacks the conversation about sexual health (physical, emotional, and social). We have the power to change that. Before we can be expected to give “informed” consent, we need fundamental knowledge about our own bodies, specifically in pelvic and sexual health. 

  • Learn tips on healthy pelvic health habits for women and young girls you can start now (and teach your daughters)
  • Know the signs for when to look for to seek help from a health professional 
  • Discuss pelvic health resources available 
  • Stimulate further conversation re: how we get from basic sex ed to having the tools to negotiate sexuality in the #MeToo era.


How to Charge What You Are Worth Without Selling Your Soul.


Speaker: Dr. Marina Kostina
Life With Passion - Money with Soul

In her research Dr. Marina Kostina found that most female small business owners do not charge what they are worth because subconsciously they are afraid to appear greedy or salesy to their customers. Therefore, they try to play it “safe” and keep their prices down which results in low customer retention rates and attracts clients who are not willing to invest in themselves, and are unappreciative of their services.

In this session Dr. Kostina uncovers 3 hidden obstacles that keep you stuck in your business and helps you create a new, more efficient (and more pleasant) map for your business where you no longer compete on price. 

As a result of this session you will:

a. Realize your "internal pricing cruise control" that keeps you overworked and underpaid. It is a known fact that 95% of our lives is run by our subconscious mind. Dr. Kostina helps you uncover beliefs that stop you from moving forward in your business and teaches you her unique "Matreshka Technique" - the #1 tool that helps you increase your prices.

b. Adopt a "SOULFUL formula" for your business that will instantly raise the value of your products and services and will immediately boost your self-esteem (and hence, pricing)

C. Align your marketing strategies with WHO YOU ARE, so you never feel salesy.

d. Become aware of the ways to leverage your business online even in a seemingly face-to-face industry.

This is NOT a lecture. You will be active participants in hands-on interactive activities that will help you make instant changes in your business. Walk away with cheat sheets and useful guides with step-by-step directions on what to do next.

Primary messages:

- Competing on price is NEVER a good idea

- Realizing your own limiting beliefs is a half of the battle

- In order to confidently raise prices without feeling salesy business owners need to clearly define their target audience, the problems their business solves and the value they bring to the table. 

We are often bombarded by new marketing approaches and strategies that promise us abundance of clients. Yet, we spend a lot of time and money on learning these techniques only to realize that they never work for our business. Dr. Kostina takes this guessing game out of the equation. She helps you determine your own marketing.


The Yoga Guide to #metoo


Speaker: Jenny Arrington, Wellness Advisor at Kellogg School of Management

Jenny Arrington, the Wellness Advisor at Kellogg School of Management, helps her students move through emotional and physical blocks to get closer to their highest self. Some of those blocks were put up by men through abuse, trauma, harassment, and systemic chauvinism. Jenny has also experienced a lifetime of navigating both the overt and subtle attacks from men. She will explain the ways that yoga can both help heal and manage the old pain and continuing stress caused by men. Yogic philosophy and practices provide innumerable techniques all women can employ as we continue to uncover our #metoo stories.


Karli Butler Shares Her Voice & Purpose


Speaker:  Karli Butler, mother and beloved community member, she shows the world that there is, in fact, a beautiful life after drama, trauma, and scars.  

When it comes to adversity, some people are just unyielding.  Karli Butler has faced some serious trials, but in each step, remains unbreakable.  Turning her trauma into triumph, she’s a survivor who by sharing her story and using it for good, does more than just show the world her strength.

In March 2006, she was the target of a vicious attack made in retaliation against her then boyfriend.  The violent beating escalated to kidnapping, but Karli was able to escape from the trunk of her car while it was in motion.  In May, another attack occurred—same motive, but different attackers— and this attack left much different scarring.  Karli’s attackers poured acid over her body and she spent the next six and half weeks in the Intensive Care Burn Unit.  She endured over a dozen surgeries, but the emotional effects of her attacks ran much deeper than the external scarring.  Due to a lack of sufficient evidence, only one of her five attackers were ever brought to justice, leaving Karli with a totally different wound.

Instead of letting trials defeat her, Karli made an important decision—to speak up.  And as an expert in the art of communication, she is well equipped to do so.  Karli is a proud alumna of DePaul University and she holds not only a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, but also a Master of Arts in Organizational and Multicultural Communication, incorporating that acumen when speaking to her different audiences.  In addition to her academic degrees, she is a trained circle keeper with Restorative Justice Evanston and the Evanston Police Department.

Since making that extremely brave decision, she’s delivered dozens of speeches and presentations for groups and organizations such as Valparaiso University, Loyola University Medical Center, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and even her alma mater, DePaul University.  These discussion-based lectures pertain to self-esteem, self-respect, forgiveness, and being a survivor of violence. She provides tips on overcoming trauma and life’s obstacles, but most importantly, she demonstrates how self-esteem comes from within and its ability to empower and heal the body and mind.

Karli’s reach doesn’t end with only those she physically meets and encourages.  To prevent others from enduring similar trials, she worked to change legislation that could help a countless number of people in her home state and played a key role in the passing of Illinois House Bill 2193—a bill that requires anyone buying commercial-grade hydrochloric or sulfuric acid to show photo identification and have their data entered into a state database.

Karli walks in her purpose daily by helping others find their voice and purpose. She currently serves as the Director of Social Services at Curt's Café, a nonprofit organization that provides training in food service and life skills to underserved youth in Evanston. When she's not Googling information for her inquisitive son, Zailen, you can find her dining at new restaurants with her favorite gal pals . . . or ironing her superwoman cape. 


Navigating High Conflict Divorce and Custody Cases


Speaker:  P. Ann O'Connell, Attorney at Law

I thought all divorces were high conflict.  While all divorce comes with tears, anger and conflict, when these feeling creep into the divorce process, the divorce turns high conflict.   A high conflict divorce is when one or both parties create a “war” that is both costly and damaging.  Ann will walk you through the litigation process from filing of the petition for dissolution until through the trial and the Judge’s decision.  

  1. Filing a Petition for Dissolution
  2. Serving the Respondent
  3. Temporary Orders
  4. Parenting Plan
  5. Discovery
  6. Experts
  7. GAL
  8. Custody evaluations
  9. Dissipation of Assets
  10. Valuating businesses and property
  11. Trial
  12. Court findings and decision 


Superwomen Dont Wear Spanx


Speaker: Dr. Marina Kostina  Life With Passion - Money with Soul 


In our modern society women are bombarded with various expectations ranging from their physical appearance to their role in the family and society. Unfortunately, in their efforts to please everyone around and fit into the standards set by others, women often forget to give to themselves and are often disconnected from their joy, purpose and a sense of flow. With such disconnect, depression rates are rising, and self-doubt and self-neglect becomes a norm. 

In this presentation Dr. Kostina gently guides women back to their power, showing them their unique strengths and talents and reconnecting them with their purpose. Particularly, Dr. Kostina demonstrates that negative emotions that are frowned upon in our society are actually our best guides in life. Fear and pain often point at our biggest gifts. She suggests replacing our tendency of avoidance with a capacity to embrace, which can relieve our suffering and allow us to release an untapped capacity for pleasure. The presentation ends with a signature technique created by Dr. Kostina, that literally gets you of your seat and sets every participant in action for discovering their gifts.


“Not me/Not now” Becomes Your New Normal. 5 Strategies on Managing Caring for an Older Loved One.


Speaker:  Charlotte Bishop, MS, CRC, GCM, CCM, LCPC

Hope is not a plan and many people think that a crisis will never happen to them or an older loved one…it happens to other people. My talk offers the listener five specific strategies that they can implement to minimize the upheaval in their own life as they care for a loved one. The unexpected does happen and the best way to cope and find life balance is to know what you can and cannot do as well as have a plan. The plan can be as detailed as one would want or simply a list of resources to call upon. There is not one “best” way to manage a life crisis. But there are better ways than denying that it could happen. And above all maintaining life balance during a crisis is essential for those of us caring for families, fulfilling other obligations while caring for an older loved one.


More Information


The conference will be held on the 9th floor. Join us for coffee/tea from 8-9am during registration. 

Sign up for sessions

Expo Hours 8am - 6pm 

Lunch 12-1pm 

Lunch will be serviced at Farmhouse located on the first floor of the Orrington Hotel.  

Social Hours 4-6pm
Please join us after the conference for a glass of wine and light refreshments. Network and visit with exhibitors.

For more information

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