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2012 WISE Symposium features powerhouse guest speakers

March 20, 2012

Lindsay Wickham
(315) 443-3550

Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) is bringing powerhouse entrepreneur guest speakers to the 10th annual WISE Symposium April 3 to inspire an anticipated audience of 1,000 at the Syracuse Oncenter. The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, drives the ever-increasing success of the conference by providing critical support and services for the event since its inception in 2003.

Barbara Corcoran delivers the afternoon keynote address, “From Rags to Riches: An Entrepreneurial Journey," unveiling her unconventional path to success. Corcoran, faced with many obstacles, including less than satisfactory grades in high school and college, had already been through dozens of jobs by the time she was 23. She turned her story around when she started the Corcoran Group in 1973, with a $1,000 loan, selling it in 2001 for nearly $70 million. Corcoran is also an investor/shark on ABC's reality hit “Shark Tank.”

Nell Merlino, morning keynote speaker, is founder and president of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million-dollar enterprises. Merlino's speech, "Make Your Business a Million," aims to inspire attendees to achieve their potential by dreaming big and then making it happen through tools, resources and a supportive community of their peers. She is also the creative force for Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which moved more than 71 million Americans to participate.

Other notable speakers include founder of Chobani Yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya. Attendees will learn how Ulukaya identified the need for a Greek yogurt line in the dairy market, and went on to create one of America’s top yogurt brands. Additional 2012 WISE Symposium speakers include:

  • Jackie Wilson, president and owner of American Fashion Network and JES Apparel, supplier of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel at Kohl’s, Aeropostale and Dollar General;
  • Tierra Destiny Reid, owner of Stylish Consignments and founder of Serious Startups, a national service provider for small business owners looking for serious strategies;
  • Yvonne Conte, a corporate climate expert, professional speaker and coach. Her company, Humor Advantage, Inc., has provided speakers for small, medium and Fortune 500 companies such as Xerox Corp., Time Warner, GE Global and Lucent Technologies;
  • Lisbeth McNabb, CEO and founder of w2wlink. Former CFO and Strategist for Match.com, she launched a professional women's content and community digital business in 2007; and 
  • Lisa Assenza, Kathy Berger and Jen Falso, founders of HuePhoria (hand-decorated glassware).

The 2012 event runs from at 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and features a jam-packed day of activities, speakers and networking. Attendees may register for an all inclusive all-day ticket for $85, or may choose to register only for the afternoon expo for $30. Registration for full-time students is $20. To register, visit http://wiseconference.com/register, or contact Lindsay Wickham at lwickham@syr.edu, or 315-443-3550.

The WISE Symposium is organized in conjunction with KeyBank, National Grid and the WISE Women’s Business Center.

Launched in 2003 by the Whitman School of Management Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, WISE fosters the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities by women from all walks of life. Each year, the Falcone Center and WISE Women’s Business Center sponsor events to promote entrepreneurial thinking among women in the Central New York area and offers a way to help entrepreneurial women stay connected. Since its inception, the WISE Symposium has reached thousands of women in Central New York, successfully evolving into a year-round initiative supporting entrepreneurs through the established WISE Women’s Business Center.

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