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Community Highlights

June 27, 2017

North Carolina: Highlights From Asheville

A Report on the 2017 Women’s Economic Bruncheon

More than 100 women leaders from business and industry, nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, education, the arts, and government gathered in Asheville on June 27 at the Renaissance Hotel Banquet Center for the first annual celebration of women leaders, highlighting the crucial role women play in driving the local economy.

Jeanne Milliken Bonds, regional team leader, Community Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, opened the program with keynote remarks, setting the stage with a reflection on the Bank’s perspective on workforce development, focusing on community development and opportunities for innovation in financing workforce development opportunities. A panel discussion, "Driving Technology Ecosystems & Community Infrastructure," included Jeanne Milliken Bonds, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Sarah Langer Hall, N.C. State University’s Center for Emerging Issues; Tracy Schmidt, UNITE WNC; and Emily Breedlove of Small Town Ventures as moderator.

“Building a community’s inclusive innovation economy is hard work, but women are often the early adapters,” Bonds told the women. “Building social capital and fostering new enterprise development is a strategic opportunity communities can embrace now. Green construction, aging in place solutions, and new agricultural processes use new technologies and offer new entrepreneurial options for women.”

Former Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy closed the program with a charge to women to continue to lead in the west. A full networking brunch followed the program.

Resources for Women in North Carolina


InnovateNC Asset Map:

FemCity Asheville:

Women Entrepreneurs of Western North Carolina (WEWNC):
Digital Sales with Soul marketing and sales program

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