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March 27, 2015
HCC Women of Excellence host 2015 Women’s Conference
WELDON, N.C. – The Halifax Community College (HCC) Women of Excellence mentoring group held its sixth annual Women to Women Conference on March 26 in The Centre as part of HCC’s celebration of Women’s History Month. The theme for the event was “Unleashing the Power of Great Possibilities.”

Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina, was the keynote speaker. She discussed having a willingness to learn and work hard, having confidence in oneself, setting long- and short-term goals, and she encouraged the audience not to become victims of circumstances. She emphasized that everyone should be bold and determined, have vision and dreams and take risks.

“Just when you think you can’t go any further, take that next step,” she said. “You already have what it takes so don’t give up and certainly don’t get discouraged.”

Harrison also noted that help will be needed in order to reach our goals and we need to celebrate each other’s successes. Along her journey, Harrison noted that she was willing to work hard and be a team player. She sought out mentors and took advantage of every technical course and management development opportunity that she could within her company. That put her in a position to be promoted.

“You also have to continue to decide what do you want out of life and what are you willing to give up within reason to get it… In doing so, this will keep you focused on your goals, which will ensure greater success,” she said.

Harrison added that we need to surround ourselves with positive people. She concluded, “I want you to enlarge your vision this year. I want you to empower yourself to soar… The sky’s the limit.”

In addition to the keynote address, a women’s panel discussion featured Valerie Asbell (District Attorney, 6th Prosecutorial District including Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton Counties), Kimberly D. Bracy (Mill Communications Manager, KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation), Brenda Branch (Chief District Court Judge, District 6 including Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton Counties), Marty E. Hackney (Director of Entrepreneurial Initiative, East Carolina University) and Cathy Scott (Executive Director, Halifax County Economic Development Commission).

Questions for the panel ranged from greatest accomplishments and how those were achieved to strategies for overcoming obstacles, advice on achieving goals, what will need to happen differently in the community so that women and girls will feel and act more empowered to achieve, the role of women leaders in the region and next steps for women.

A number of activities took place during the conference including breakout sessions and a luncheon. Sessions included “Having 20/20 Vision for Your Future” by Terry Jones, “Identifying the Leader in You” by Danielle Ragland, “How to Make Your Style Speak for You” by Kimberly Bracy, “Breast Cancer Awareness” by Terri Moore, “How to Start a Small Business” by Marty Hackney and “Work Ethics for Today’s Workforce” by Ruby Vincent Ward. A Zumba/line dancing class was led by Chrisie Heath and vendors were on site.

The HCC Women of Excellence is a community of female leaders dedicated to improving the quality of life and making an impact on themselves as well as on the community. The event was funded by the U.S. Department of Education PBI Formula Grant.
Venessa Harrison
Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina, was the keynote speaker.
women’s panel discussion
The women's panel discussion included, from left, Marty E. Hackney, Cathy Scott, Valerie Asbell, Kimberly D. Bracy and Brenda Branch.
Halifax Community College's Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
Primary Media Contact: Melanie Temple, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, mtemple295@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319

Secondary Media Contact: Dr. Dianne Rhoades, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Halifax Community College and Executive Director of the Halifax Community College Foundation Inc., dbarnes-rhoades128@halifaxcc.edu, 252-536-7239