Speakers announced for Iowa Women Lead Change conference

Tickets on sale for April 26 event in C.R.

Tiffany O’Donnell
Tiffany O’Donnell

A nationally known meteorologist and executives from GoDaddy and Gannett will speak at this year’s Iowa Women Lead Change conference in Cedar Rapids.

The April 26 conference will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids. Tickets are now on sale.

Tiffany O’Donnell, chief executive officer of Iowa Women Lead Change, said the organization chooses speakers who are engaging but who also will leave attendees feeling educated, challenged and inspired.

Joanne Lipman is chief content officer of Gannett and editor-in-chief of USA Today and the USA Today Network. She also has held top positions at the Wall Street Journal and Condé Nast Portfolio magazine.

Lipman has a book coming out in February, “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together.”

“She’s one of the first to really point out what is very clear to us at IWLC is that engaging men in that conversation is important,” O’Donnell said regarding having men in the workforce encourage women to be successful.

Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, was chosen as a speaker in part for her candor on mental health issues, O’Donnell said.

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Zee has covered the nation’s weather events and also hosts an ABC News series called “Food Forecast,” which focuses on climate and its impact on agriculture. She has written a book about her battle with depression, “Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One.”

That openness about mental health is a conversation many conference attendees want to have, O’Donnell said.

“What we hear from a lot of women is a desire for more discussion about mental health issues as it relates to work-life balance,” O’Donnell said. “She represents finding that balance. Depression is something that affects so many people, and so many are reluctant to talk about it. Women in our community aren’t afraid to talk about that.”

Christopher Carfi, head of GoDaddy’s global content marketing division, has been instrumental in GoDaddy’s male ally program.

The program, O’Donnell said, is for “men who are oftentimes at work alongside us, men who support women’s leadership growth as an advocate, mentor or sponsor.”

“If you look at just the sheer numbers, there aren’t that many women in top positions,” O’Donnell said. “There’s a gap that needs to be filled. Many of us have had men as allies and sponsors. The time is better than ever for discussing what a male ally looks like and who is doing that and how they’re doing that.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8516; makayla.tendall@thegazette.com

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