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"To flourish is to find fulfillment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level - in essence, living the 'good life'" (Seligman, 2011)


Saturday, March 23, 2024
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center

This year’s in-person Women's Conference features an exciting lineup of presenters and breakout sessions. More information to follow. 


  • Conference Registration

    • 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Registration & Breakfast 

    Main Event

    • 9:00 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. – Welcome and Sponsor Recognition 
    • 9:25 a.m. - to 10:25 a.m. – Keynote Speaker, Karen Laos
    • 1:30 p.m. - to 2:30 p.m. – Keynote Speaker, Carolina Caro

    Breakout Sessions

    10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. 

    The breakout sessions are being finalized, however below are some of the topics we are considering.  (Times and topics are subject to change.)

    • Empowering Your Essence: Flourishing in Women's Wellness
    • Lifting up Women in our Community
    • Mental Health-Spirituality
    • Becoming a Changemaker

    11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 

    • Empowering Women Through the Hard Times 
    • The Art of Non-Toxic Living
    • Painting Therapy

    1:05 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

    • Lunch

    2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

    • Vendor Fair


Main Event

Welcome Speech by Dr. Van Hook

9:00 a.m. - 9:20 a.m.

University Center

Chancellor Dr. Van Hook

Dr. Dianne Van Hook


Santa Clarita Community College District/College of the Canyons

Our Keynote Speakers

Karen Laos

9:25 am - 10:25 am

University Center

Karen Laos, Communication Expert and Confidence Cultivator 

Karen Laos, Communication Expert and Confidence Cultivator, is on a mission to eradicate self-doubt in 10 million women by giving them simple strategies to ask for what they want in the boardroom and beyond.

Coached by her father, Karen first recognized the power of confident communication when she successfully negotiated her first flea market purchase at six years old. She now guides women to transform self-doubt into self-confidence resulting in more clients, job promotions, and negotiation wins.

With 25 years serving as C-Suite advisor and commanding coveted stages such as Google, Starbucks and NASA, Karen leads the frontline of best practices for creating results through confident communication. She guides corporations and individuals with a proven model and is known for her actionable tips and ability to build trust quickly. During her corporate career, she led a team of facilitators while traveling the globe consulting industry leaders on the seemingly soft skills that impact the bottom line.

Karen is the author of Trust Your Own Voice: Growing Your Influence Through Confident Communication, as well as the host of her highly ranked podcast, Ignite Your Confidence, equipping women to stop holding back and start taking their seat at the table. Following her lifelong dream to live in Manhattan, she rented an apartment there for the month of her 50th birthday.

Carolina Caro

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

University Center

Carolina Caro, The Great Re-Alignment: Cultivating Resilience to Navigate Change 

Carolina is the CEO and Founder of Conscious Leadership Partners, a firm that specializes in conscious leadership development through coaching, training and speaking. She’s a certified Conscious Leadership Coach, a Professional Speaker, Trainer and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practitioner. Her firm partners with multi-generational organizations to enhance employee engagement by developing conscious leaders and inclusive workplaces that improve collaboration, growth and innovation. They do this by heightening self-awareness so that leaders uncover their blind spots and unlearn any unproductive Generational Conditioning in order to consciously develop behaviors that will cultivate their leadership potential.

Carolina trained with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) and is credentialed with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) where she maintains her Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation. She also earned the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) status in 2021 with the National Speakers Association, which is held by less than 15% of speakers globally. She is also a member of the Society for Diversity and holds both the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) and Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credentials.

Carolina is a passionate advocate for diversity, which has shaped every aspect of her life. She is a Montreal native with both Hispanic and Indian roots, fluent in English, Spanish and French. Her educational background is just as rich and diverse, with an undergraduate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, a Masters degree in Science (Experimental Medicine), a Masters degree in Business Administration and a professional certificate in acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York. Working with leaders from organizations that include the FBI, NASA, Warner, McDonalds and more, she draws on her diverse background spanning science, business, and the arts to bring a unique perspective to teams and individuals.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions

Child Lumberjack to Changemaker

A Journey of Personal Development through Community Building

10:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.

Tessa Lacy

Tressa Lacy

At five, Tressa began stacking boards in the family’s logging business. Four years later, she was wielding a chainsaw. After enduring life-shattering logging injuries, Tressa chose a more positive path forward through education, mentoring, and community engagement, emerging as an influential role model and a powerful voice for marginalized women and children. 

Now, a recipient of national and international honors, Tressa champions change as the Founder of Undaunted Women and an International Speaker, inspiring others with her journey from a disempowered past to an empowered present.

As she awaits the publication of her memoir, "Lumberjack Girl," Tressa works as an accounting professor and takes pride in her role as a devoted wife and mother to five spirited children. Actively involved, she is a member of the American Association of University Women SCV and the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

An Authentic Voice in Leadership, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and in Health and Wellbeing

Ebony Travis

Ebony Travis

Ebony’s voice has resonated beyond the corporate halls, finding its echo in prestigious platforms where her insights on leadership, DEI, and authentic living have garnered widespread recognition and appreciation. Her feature in collaboration with other leaders in Forbes on “6 Leadership Resolutions to Kick-Start 2023” underscores her forward-thinking approach to leadership strategy, while her spotlight in CIO VIEWS Magazine (2022) titled “Promoting Accountability and Awareness around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is Personal for Ebony” offers a deep dive into her personal and professional commitment to DEI.

Her narrative continued to inspire in the Voyage Minnesota Magazine feature “Meet Ebony Travis Tichenor” (2021), and her engaging discourse on “Exploring Black History Month with Ebony Travis Tichenor of Boston Scientific” on a podcast with the Medical Alley Association shed light on her thoughtful reflections on heritage and inclusivity.

Why is Sleep important? Sleep & Wellness


Dr. Sam Kashani

Dr. Sam A. Kashani is a board-certified Sleep Medicine Specialist who practices in Santa Monica, Porter Ranch, and Santa Clarita. His clinical interests include chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, parasomnias, pediatric sleep disorders, and the associations between sleep, obesity, and metabolic health. He sees both adult and pediatric patients.

Dr. Kashani completed his residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Southern California, where he worked with the medically underserved population of San Bernardino County with plans of becoming a primary care physician. Upon completing his residency, he chose to pursue his interest in Sleep Medicine and completed a fellowship in Sleep Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Dr. Kashani also currently serves on the board of directors for the California Sleep Society (CSS) and regularly delivers lectures and conferences on sleep health in the community. As a clinical instructor of medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Kashani maintains a strong interest in teaching patients as well as students and trainees. Outside of medicine, his interests include classic films, physical fitness, biking, and cooking.

Lifting up Women in out Community

Ebony TravisNikkiMichelleJennifer

Nikki Buckstead, Michelle Simmonds, Hildegarde Aguinaldo, & Jennifer Aston


Painting Therapy

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Elizabeth Rydall

Elizabeth Rydall

Elizabeth Rydall is a business owner, an artist, a mother, a cancer survivor, a former Miss Minnesota, and so much more. She's funny, inspirational, and very talented. Join her in an exclusive painting session. (Painting materials will be provided.)

Empowering Women Through the Hard Times

11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Jacqueline Diaz

Jacqueline Diaz-Fontana

Jacqueline Diaz-Fontana is a mental health advocate and a licensed Peer Support Specialist.

She is passionate about raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health and suicide prevention. She regularly speaks at conferences, workshops and on podcasts. She is the founder and director of Erick A Garcia You Are Enough Foundation, a non-profit organization that she founded in honor of her son Erick in 2018. The organization provides educational workshops, local events to bring awareness, Grief Support groups, Scholarships to High School Students, and brings free resources and free therapy for people in need. Jacqueline believes that the lives of all people with mental health issues have value. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with her family, friends and pets. 

Get Involved: Ways to Engage with the City of Santa Clarita and College of the Canyons

Ebony TravisNikkiMichelle

Janine Prado, Julie Calderone, & Diane Fiero


Sound Bath

Ebony Travis

Christy Burton


Looking Your Best at Any Age!

Ebony Travis

Ruth Stanke


The Art of Non-Toxic Living

12:20 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Shelly Jefferis

Shelly Jefferis, M.A.

Shelly has been in the health and wellness profession for over 35 years. She is an educator, speaker and mentor. In addition to recently retiring from being a college professor for over 30 years, she is partnered with a global health & wellness company and her passion lies in impacting the lives of others and mentoring them to feel and live their best lives. She educates on healthy, clean living through reducing toxic exposure. Through this she created “Purge Your Pantry” where she provides education and suggestions of ways to live healthier in our homes.  She is passionate about sharing “wholistic” wellness with others and has created a program specific for moms to empower them to put their health and self-care as a priority through fitness, wellness and mind-set. She is the host of the podcast “Words of Wellness” where she shares the wellness journeys of others and highlights experts in various areas of wellness. 

Shelly has been a resident of SCV for over 30 years! She loves supporting the community and all of the various businesses. She has served on the Circle of Hope board and is proud to currently be serving as a board member for Empowering Hearts. She is happily married with three beautiful children of her own and always operates from the mindset of “family first”. Her biggest love is spending time with her family and her fur babies. She loves to run, workout and spend time at the beach! She enjoys reading and regularly attending conferences as she is constantly learning and growing in order to become the best version of herself, so she can in return give back to others and make an impact on this world!

Science of Motherhood


Victoria Onyeabor


Radical Self-Care: Boundaries with Love & Integrity


Senta Greene


Dance Therapy


Ingrid Blanco


Looking Your Best at Any Age!


Ruth Stanke




We appreciate the continued support of our sponsors:

Boston Scientific
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