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Yvonne Miller, who has the distinction of being the first black woman elected to both the Virginia House of Delegates and later State Senate, has attended every conference since 1998. "I never miss this event," she says, "because it recharges my public service batteries. The Stennis Center's women's conference is the best one for women in politics. They do a good job of attracting a diverse group of women leaders as both attendees and as presenters."

Kay Cobb, a former state legislator and the presiding justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court, says, "The 2003 conference was my fifth one, and the best yet. It just keeps getting better and better." She adds, "I think one of the reasons for the success of this conference year after year is its bipartisanship. Regardless of political ideology, the women at this conference come together in a spirit of unity."

Carole Wells, another former legislator who is the first woman to chair the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, likes the unique networking opportunities. "I always enjoy meeting people not only from other Southern states, but I like the mix of mayors, judges, legislators, commissioners, board members, business executives, professors and others who are there."

Jimmie Lou Fisher, who served as Arkansas State Treasurer for 20 years and helped plan the 2003 conference in Little Rock, remembers, "When I came to the first conference back in 1991, women were just beginning to make inroads in the South. The success of this event mirrors the unprecedented progress women have made. Still, the overall number of women leaders in political positions in the South is low. We need conferences like this to encourage women to run and seek appointments and to strengthen the women there now."