The Daily Pulse:

Nikki Giovanni Returning Home for Women's Leadership Summit

We aren't quite sure what Nikki Giovanni's work really has to do with "leaning in," but this should be interesting all the same. Full press release follows:

Poet, Author, Activist to Keynote East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit

June 14th event explores women's need to "Close the Gap" in leadership, confidence and wages
Knoxville, TN - The second annual East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit will focus on issues that are a hot topic of discussion for women around the nation with the release of Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In.  Professional women understand that significant gender gaps persist throughout the corporate world in leadership numbers, in confidence levels, and in pay equity.  On June 14th, a dynamic slate of speakers will address those issues, headlined by Nikki Giovanni, one of America's most widely-respected poet activists. The full-day Summit at the Knoxville Hilton Airport continues the conversation opened last year to encourage and equip East Tennessee women to step up to leadership in all aspects of life - that is, to Live. Learn. Lead.

Giovanni was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award and has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine. She was named an Outstanding Woman of Tennessee, was tapped for the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, and has received Governor's Awards from both Tennessee and Virginia. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni grew up in Cincinnati, but spent her summers with her grandparents in Knoxville. Now a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, she has come to be called a "National Treasure" and was named one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends."

In addition to Giovanni and featured speakers on closing the gap in leadership, confidence and wages, the morning plenary session will be presented by Deb Sofield, executive speech and presentations coach who trains world-class public speakers nationally and internationally.  Among her many activities, Sofield trains emerging leaders at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government's Women and Public Policy Program and The Women's Campaign School at Yale.

At the end of the day, the second annual Lizzie Crozier French East Tennessee Women's Leadership Award will be revealed as the award is presented to a distinguished East Tennessee woman.  Mayor Madeline Rogero, who received the inaugural award last year, will also be on hand to present the award to the 2013 winner.

Registration for the full day is $75 until May 31st; $90 until June 7th; $125 at the door.  To register, or to find more information about the conference go

Sponsored by WVLT TV and B97.5, the Summit is a volunteer effort of the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Council, chaired by Wendy Pitts Reeves and co-chaired by Sharon Hannum. The Summit is an outgrowth of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.

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