This year marks the seventh year for the “WISE” conference, which stands for Women Inspiring Supporting Empowering.
It was held Wednesday at the Lone Star College Community Building in The Woodlands.
“It’s a collaborative effort between the groups Montgomery County Business Association of Women and Women on a Mission to Earn Commission,” said Dawn Candy, Strategic Marketing Consultant for I Promote You, and this year’s WISE Conference Coordinator.
“The biggest reason a woman would want to attend this is because if they’re a woman in business, whether they work for corporate or they own their own business or maybe even considering starting one, this is a great place to be. You’ve got women who want to help you in your business. They want to encourage you both personally and professionally,” added Candy.
Jessica Buchanan was the keynote speaker at this year’s conference.
On Oct. 25, 2011, Buchanan, who had been working on a demining project with the Danish Refugee Council in Somalia, was captured by Somali pirates. Buchanan was rescued by Navy Seals on Jan. 25, 2012.
“I think these are my favorite type of venues to speak in because women are amazing. It’s so great to get together with a group of women and be vulnerable, get a little personal, and to share my experience of survival; to be able to say to them it’s hard, life is hard, but I know we have the capacity that we need in order to get through it and to make it through whatever trial we’re facing at the time,” Buchanan told Bluebonnet News.
When asked what the biggest message Buchanan wants to get out to people from her story, she said forgiveness.
“I’ve never really harbored unforgiveness toward the group that held me. I’m a humanitarian aid worker at heart so in a way I understand why these things happen. It’s about poverty and lack of education and resources. My husband still works in development and still goes back and forth to Africa,” said Buchanan.
Buchanan said because she has two small children she is reluctant to go with him, but someday she may go back again.
“I believe that the more empowered people are, the less opportunity there are for these things to happen. I just don’t want anybody to ever harbor any kind of hate or feelings of resentment or bitterness toward other people groups, because I certainly don’t,” said Buchanan.