Ann Arbor women's leadership conference promises strategies to combat pay inequality, gender bias

A new Women in Leadership Conference in Ann Arbor aims to offer something more than the average women's leadership summit.


Hosted by Ann Arbor-based DaySmart Software, the conference will take place Oct. 17 from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at Zingerman's Greyline. DaySmart corporate brand manager and conference organizer Brock Wackerle says the event was created as a platform to discuss real-life issues facing women leaders in the workplace.


"There are many conferences dealing with balancing work and a personal life. This one is different because it focuses on what's missing in today's business culture," Wackerle says. "Attendees will walk away with tools and information for dealing with common obstacles such as gender bias (and) pay inequality."


All three speakers have extensive leadership experience. Speaker Cindy Schipani, a business law professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, will share strategies to secure equal pay. She'll discuss workplaces that openly share salaries and encouraging employers to not require employees to disclose their previous pay grades.


Trey Boynton, diversity and inclusion manager at Duo Security, will discuss common workplace personality types like "The Slide," "The Merry-Go-Round," and "The Obstacle," and how to deal with them. Engelina Jaspers, a 30-year corporate career veteran and author of Marketing Flexology: How to Outsmart Change and Future-Proof Your Career, will explore dealing with "boys' club" mentalities.


The conference will close with a Q&A hosted by Brooke Boyle, founder of Ann Arbor-based Engage, followed by a meet and greet.


"With the state of current events we're at a point where people are coming together and really listening," says Wackerle. "We need opportunities like this to challenge the perception of who and what a leader is."


Conference admission is $17. For more information, visit the conference's website, email, or call (248) 491-0185.

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at

Photos courtesy of DaySmart.
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