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Women in Leadership Conference to Feature Communications Expert

Joanna Coles
Joanna Coles

Oklahoma City University’s 10th annual Women in Leadership Conference will feature former Hearst Magazines chief content officer Joanna Coles and other leading business professionals for a powerhouse workshop April 18 at the Cox Convention Center downtown.

The conference is a one-day professional and personal development event that offers enhanced leadership training, high-level networking and inspirational presentations from global business leaders. The annual conference provides the opportunity for the next generation of senior leaders to learn from talented speakers and connect through conversations on important issues.

This year’s event features presentations on how women can advance their careers, workplace organizational behavior and tips to improve influential speaking skills. Presenters include Linda Rossetti, author of “Women & Transition”; Brian Parsons, dean of the OCU School of Theatre; and Peter Glick, social sciences professor at Lawrence University.

A panel discussion on the topic of modern communication and reputation management will feature Kelly Dyer Fry, publisher of The Oklahoman; Kym Koch, principal of Koch Communications; and Mecca Rayne, news anchor for KOCO-TV as moderator.

Brides of Oklahoma co-founders Kami Huddleston and Ashley Bohn Murphy will serve as the masters of ceremonies.

Melissa Cory, co-founder of the conference and director of the Executive and Professional Education programs at OCU’s Meinders School of Business, summarized the theme of this year’s event — “Pivot.”

“The goal is to highlight the importance of navigating and leading through change — in our personal and professional lives,” Cory said. “Those who remain flexible and have the ability to adapt their thinking and behavior to circumstances possess an important skill.”

Research by LinkedIn has found that adaptability is a critical skill, and those who master it are in high demand with employers.

“Many women are very adept at adapting. But recognizing that this is a marketable, valuable skill is the goal,” Cory explained. “Turning moments of change into opportunity, however, means we need to be ready to embrace change, create a network that supports us and develop tools that help us navigate this change.”

Coles’ keynote presentation is titled “Business and Marketing in the Snapchat Era.” The New York Times describes her as “one of the most powerful people in media.”

She serves on the board of Snap Inc. (Snapchat). From 2012-16, she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the world’s largest female media brand, which she reinvented as a vehicle for women’s empowerment. Coles is executive producer of the hit TV show “The Bold Type,” inspired by her career as an editor. She is also a frequent contributor to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and the CBS Morning Show. She served as the mentor on “Project Runway AllStars” (Lifetime). Coles is the author of “Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World,” published last year. Conference registration is $225 and can be made online at okcwomeninleadership.com, or by calling Cory at 405-208-5540 or emailing mcory@okcu.edu.