The executive director of the YWCA of Hamilton will be the keynote speaker for the 2021 Think Regional conference, to be held virtually and focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Wendy Waters-Connell has been the chief executive officer of the Hamilton YWCA for more than three years. She is an accomplished, skilled health care executive with proven expertise in nonprofit leadership, board and organizational development. She spent more than 30 years in the nursing home industry after graduating from Miami University, University of North Carolina and Wright State University.
Southwest Ohio Leadership (SWOL) Think Regional was initiated in 2006 through the efforts of program directors for Leadership Clinton, Leadership Highland and Leadership Warren County.
In subsequent years, LEAD Clermont, Leadership Cincinnati, Leadership Dayton, Leadership Fayette County, Leadership Hamilton and Leadership Mid-Miami Valley joined the planning team.
SWOL is currently comprised of 15-member counties including: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren.
The SWOL model is based on a regional leadership day in Northeast Ohio, which brings participants and alumni from more than 25 community leadership programs together to hear from outstanding area leaders and to discuss and act upon regional issues important to their communities.
“SWOL has a rather unique vision,” said Michele Abrams, the event and organization’s volunteer chair. “We believe that economic and community development can be enhanced and accelerated by counties and commercial development activists working together on a collaborative rather than a competitive basis, ultimately benefitting communities in the region.”
The half-day event, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on April 23, will feature speakers discussing programs and activities that are underway and the results being achieved in the key area of diversity, equity and inclusion across southwest Ohio.
Other speakers include: Emiko Moore, MLK Community Coalition of Lebanon and Community Conversations-Bridging Stories; Noha Eyada, Mason CommUNITY and Mason City Schools Diversity Council; and Doug Bolton, CEO of Cincinnati Cares.
The closing session will feature an overview of Braver Angels and its “Civil Discourse Among Diverse Groups” model, featuring co-founder David Lapp and Kouhyar Mostashfi, a member of the Braver Angels Southwest Ohio chapter board. The session will discuss the Braver Angels approach for reaching mutual respect and understanding among people with diverse beliefs,
backgrounds and life experiences.
Sponsors include AT&T, U.S. Bank, Area Progress Council of Warren County, M.B. Abrams Consulting, West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, Leadership Warren County and the Clinton Leadership Institute.
Fee to attend is $20.