Women To Watch

We are proud to host honorees from around the state for the Emerging Women Leaders (EWL) recognition conference on March 5, 2024.

In its third year, EWL was created to recognize the accomplishments of up-and-coming women leaders. Each year, legislators identify and invite “women to watch” from their districts to applaud their efforts, listen to their suggestions and provide them with a day full of empowering programming.

When: Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Springfield, IL

previous arrow
next arrow


We ask you to confirm your attendance to this invite only event and sign-up for the activity and breakout group of your choice so we can provide you with a program tailor-made for you. You will need your invite code to confirm attendance and sign-up for programs.



9:30 am

Brunch & Listening Session

Led by House Minority Leader Tony McCombie,

Location: Inn at 835
Address: 835 S Second St, Springfield, IL, 62704

12:30 pm

Board Shuttles to the Capitol

Location: Inn at 835
Address: 835 S Second St, Springfield, IL, 62704

1:00 pm

The Capitol Experience

Select one of our activities designed to enhance your experience during your visit to the Capitol. Guides will be located in the Capitol Rotunda to provide directions to meeting rooms.

Location: Illinois State Capitol
Address: 401 S 2nd St, Springfield, IL, 62701

2:15 pm

Own Your Power


  • Linda Reneé Baker, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
  • Kara Demirjian Huss, DCCMarketing & T/CCI Manufacturing
  • Susan Hayes Gordon, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Justice Lisa Holder White, Illinois Supreme Court

Moderated by Amanda Vinicky, WTTW-TV Chicago

Location: Capitol Complex Visitors Center Auditorium
Address: 425 S College St, Springfield, IL, 62704

3:45 pm

Breakout Sessions

Sign-up for one of the inspiring and informational programs. Guides will help you navigate the Capitol Complex to find your breakout group. Space is limited for each breakout group.

  1. Advancing the Women’s Economy
    Women play a huge role in our economy, yet decision makers often overlook our contributions and don’t take them into consideration when developing policies. Find out what the state of Illinois is doing to advance the women’s economy and learn why a group of investors started a bank dedicated to supporting women.
    • Location: Capitol Building, Room 402A
    • Speakers:
      • Marianne Markowitz, founder & CEO, First Women’s Bank
      • Kristi Dula, Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  2. Advocate with Authority Whether you want to influence a school board, municipal council or a state legislature, influencing people when you seemingly have no authority can be daunting. But, it doesn’t have to be.
    • Location: Capitol Building, Room 100
    • Speakers:
      • Lori Reimers, Lori A. Reimers Government Consulting & Reporting
      • Susanne Hack, Susanne Hack & Associates
  3. Put Your Oxygen Mask On First
    Mental health matters topped the list of the most frequent concerns expressed by participants in last year’s Listening Session. Topics ranged from the lack of mental health service providers in rural areas, to the shortage of social workers in schools and the stigma of mental illness that is preventing people from getting the help they need. This year we have dedicated a breakout group to the topic of Mental Health and how leaders can contribute to positive mental health outcomes.
    • Location: Capitol Building, Room 115 Stratton Office Building, Room 337 Conference Room B
    • Speakers:
      • Angie Hampton, Egyptian Health Department
      • Stacie Kemp, Sinnissippi Centers
  4. Rising in the Ranks
    Despite progress in advancing women’s representation in the workplace, for many women wanting to lead, there are still numerous barriers impeding their path to the top. Learn what it takes to rise to the top of your organization.
    • Location: Stratton Office Building, Room 602
    • Speakers:
      • Andrea Aggertt, Architect of the Capitol
      • Dena Ballowe, Retired, Command Sergeant Major, Illinois National Guard
      • Francine Lasky, Francine Lasky Enterprises
  5. Tour the State ArchivesThe Margaret Cross Norton Building houses the State Archives and a lot of history. It was designed to protect the state’s valuable historic records from the hazards of fire, theft and exposure.
    • Location: Margaret Cross Norton Building
    • Speaker: David A. Joens, Director of Illinois State Archives

Please note that room changes may occur at the last minute due to the needs of legislative committees. Guides will be on hand to provide direction.

3:45 pm and 4:45 pm

Return Shuttles to the Inn at 835

Shuttles will return you to the Inn at 835, departing from the Capitol at the following times:

  • 3:45 pm (after the first program)
  • 4:45 pm (after the last breakout group)

Location: Illinois State Capitol
Address: 401 S 2nd St, Springfield, IL, 62701

Things To Know…

  • Bring your driver’s license or state ID.
  • Metal detectors are used throughout the Capitol Complex, do not bring knives or other weapons.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather and be prepared to do a lot of walking on hard surfaces throughout the day.
  • Please let us know if you need disability accommodations.

Extending your stay? Visit Springfield can help you find lodging and attractions.

Map of the Capitol Complex