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Women Rising

The Women Rising 2019 conference is a holistic, interactive day of connection for women from the Finger Lakes and beyond where we will foster dialog, build skills and consider specific strategies to improve our leadership. Regardless of the leadership positions we may hold, we are the leaders of our own lives with the ability to influence our communities and workplaces for the better. By discussing ideas, strategies and skills to build our resilience we can more readily bring our gifts to local, national and global issues that call for resistance against unjust systems to begin to create deep, radical connection among people from all backgrounds and lived experiences to benefit all.

This one-day professional and personal development event features speakers sharing inspirational stories and leading seminars on the issues that matter most to women. The conference offers opportunities for business networking, professional development, and personal growth to support women in their leadership roles in corporations, non-profits and in the community. Join with other women in all stages of leadership who are seeking to improve and enhance their leadership capability, connect with and learn from other women, and commit to making positive change in our workplaces and communities. 

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Rooms are available at a conference rate. Call 585-381-4000 to make a reservation & mention the

FLX Women Rising conference

2019 Main Stage Speakers


Ritu Bhasin - Keynote

 The Power of Authentic Leadership

Ritu Bhasin is a women’s empowerment and diversity and inclusion consultant and author of The Authenticity Principle.

With a global reputation for her work in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and women’s advancement, Ritu is committed to disrupting the status quo to build a world in which we celebrate our own differences and the differences of others.

As President of the leadership and inclusion
firm Bhasin Consulting Inc., she coaches C-Suite leaders, executives, and diverse  professionals on leveraging their differences for success.  As
a global speaker, she challenges others to take ownership of their role in addressing racism and discrimination and is a passionate champion of authentic leadership as a path to empowerment and success. 


Tonia Loran-Galban 


Tonia Loran-Galban, Bear clan, is Mohawk
from Akwesasne. She is a traditional Basket Maker, Historical Interpreter, Native American Educator, Bead worker and Storyteller.  She comes from a long line of basket makers both maternal and paternal and specializes in utilitarian baskets of the 17th-18thC.

Tonia is a Native Interpretive Guide at Ganondagan State Historic Site since 1991.
Her work is focused on the Haudenosaunee
way of life as it pertained to the 17thC. She
and husband Michael Galban have been
working with a dedicated group of Native Historians/Educators to revive interest in
ancient material culture traditions among
the Haudenosaunee.


Kristen Fragnoli

 Redefining Leadership with a New 3Rs

Kristen Fragnoli is a Certified Professional Coach  with 30 years of experience  in higher education as a Professor of Communication
and senior administrator. She supports others through her business Quest Potential Leadership Coaching.


Through one-on-one effectiveness coaching, workshops, and motivational speaking she helps others develop resilience, improve performance and find balance and joy in their work and life. She teaches practical skills with a focus on mindful, values-aligned personal empowerment.

Kristen believes we all have within us
exactly what we need to courageously pursue
our deepest desires and tap our own potential.
She has a master's degree in human communication and certifications from Cornell University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, State University of New York and University of Rochester. She is the founder of FLX Women.


Danielle Ponder

 Setting Intention and Finding Purpose

Danielle Ponder is a musician and attorney. A native of New York she performs internationally with her band Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People. She is a Professor in the Department of African American studies at The State University of New York College at Brockport, where she teaches Legal Rights of the Disadvantaged.

At Northeastern University, where she received her Juris Doctorate, Danielle was awarded the prestigious Public Interest Law scholarship. 
Danielle worked for 5 years at the Monroe County Public Defender’s office where she provided criminal defense to indigent defendants. Danielle has dedicated the past
15 years to organizing and advocacy. She has worked on issues such as education funding, women's rights, and has spent the past 8 years advocating for criminal justice reform. 

You can find out more about Danielle at

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Dr. Lesli C. Myers-Small, Ed.D

 Going Through Fire, Without Smelling Like Smoke

Brockport Central School District Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small has dedicated her life to the pursuit of high-quality education. The recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the NYS Women of Distinction Award, Breakthru Magazine Empowering Women Award and the Urban League of Rochester Educator Award, among others, Dr. Myers-Small has made a tremendous impact of the field of Education.

Her 2018 book Life’s Leadership Lessons is a collection of reflections, stories and experiences applicable to all areas of personal and professional Leadership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, two master’s degrees in counseling and human development and urban educational administration and a Doctorate of Education in Executive Leadership. She is passionate about her professional work and
her volunteerism.


Melina Carnicelli

 Connecting the D.O.Ts...Doing  Outrageous Things

Melina Carnicelli is a longtime activist and community leader in the Finger Lakes region. She is the lead organizer of Women March in Seneca Falls and is currently planning the annual women’s march in Seneca Falls for January 2020, the centennial celebration of American women’s right to vote.  She is the founder of 1st Amendment-1st Vote, a civic engagement initiative for high school girls and leads a local chapter of the campaign leadership program for adult women called WomenElect. 

She served as Mayor of Auburn and is a recipient of the Central New York NOW Unsung Heroine Award, the Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes Sharing the Light Award, was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the New York State Senate and was the first recipient of a local Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for founding the Mayor’s Social Justice Task Force in Auburn.

Breakout Session Speakers & Topics

Be Authentically You While Running for Office
Beatriz LeBron


Bounce Back: Developing Emotional Resilience and Grit
Megan Clifford, LCSW-R 


­The Digital Divide: Regaining Human Connection in a Technological Age
Jessica Fragnoli


­­­­Follow the Fear: Speaking Up, Speaking Out and Owning Your Expertise
Caitlin Drago


Imposter Syndrome: How to Thrive When you Feel Like You Don’t Belong
Jamyra Young, Amanda Wickham


Inquiry: The Path to Understanding and Radical Connection
Miranda Wilcox 


­­Leading at the Intersections: Owning Our Identities and Leading with Pride
Sady Fischer


Mindfulness: Heal Thyself
Dr. Lynda J. Dimitroff 


­­Personal Branding: Create Your Personal Mission Statement
Laurie Riedman  


­­The Power of Combining Feminine Strengths and Financial Know-How
Maria Caton


The Power of Volunteerism: Impact on Yourself and Your Community
Michelle Pedzich, Allison Hildebrandt


­­­­­­Run Away: Embracing Your Inner Bad Girl and Finding Your Way Home
Angela Stockman


Trust and Empowerment: Following Your Inner Voice and Creating Positive Change
Jasna Bogdanovska


­­You + Nature = A Happier, Healthier, Smarter Leader
Deborah Denome


Developing Unbreakable Confidence
Alyssa Whitfield

Raising funds

As part of the conference effort, we will be
raising funds for these area agencies whose work supports women and girls
in our community.

Thank you
to our sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor of Women Rising? Visit our Contact Page

Scholarships Available

To apply for a scholarship to cover the conference cost, simply send an email via our contact page and share

why you want to attend the conference, and why you are requesting a scholarship. 

Scholarships will be awarded in September 2019.

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