DAVENPORT — More than 100 women gathered Thursday morning for the first Quad Cities Women Connect (QCWC) workshop, an interactive session focused on professional development.
QCWC is a program of Women Lead Change, which holds annual conferences in five regions of Iowa, including the Quad-Cities.
Thursday’s inaugural workshop was designed to round out programming for, by and about women in the Quad-Cities area, said Tiffany O'Donnell, CEO of Women Lead Change.
“We saw a need to provide leadership development all year in a more holistic way,” said O’Donnell, who is a Bettendorf native.
QCWC is a member-based organization similar to the Chamber of Commerce. Members are local companies, which pay an annual membership fee for a number of seats at QCWC events.
Member companies can also designate two senior leaders to join QCWC’s advisory council, a cohort that meets monthly to talk through higher-level issues such as unconscious bias.
“We can develop individuals all we want, but if they return to organizations that aren’t ready or prepared, it’s a waste of time,” O’Donnell said. “We think it’s really important to have those senior leaders and influencers to meet monthly and discuss workforce culture."
The fledgling group hopes to hold quarterly events like Thursday’s workshop. Event tickets can also be purchased by the public.
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Women Lead Change — then known as Iowa Women Lead Change — acquired the Women’s Connection of the Quad-Cities in 2017. O’Donnell thanked the now defunct group for “setting the tone” in the local area.
The event was keynoted by Deanna Singh, a Milwaukee-based author and social entrepreneur. Her hour-long presentation, “Purposeful Hustle,” also the title of her new book, discussed her journey as a female entrepreneur trying to effect social change.
When something ostensibly intractable changes in society, Singh said, “every single time it has been because an individual or group of people has said, ‘enough.’ ”
The workshop was held at Rhythm City Casino Resort.
Theresa Hauman is a senior recreation manager at the City of Davenport’s Parks & Recreation department. She’s been attending the annual leadership conferences for years because they’re a valuable place to network in the community.
Singh’s work to advance the marginalized resonated with Hauman, whose daughter is studying accounting in college and wants to work in impoverished areas.
“Hearing stories of success is motivating,” Hauman said. “We do have a lot of women leaders in our departments. I want to be sure we continue to model that, and continue to offer opportunities, programs and support in ways they need it.”