The second Annual Women for Women Summit, presented by the College of Charleston School of Business, will be held on June 23, 2022, at the Francis Marion Hotel. “Grit” is the theme of this year’s one-day event, created to celebrate, elevate, share and connect exceptional women from across the Palmetto State.

The impressive lineup of speakers includes women leaders in business, technology and government. Guests will participate in panel discussions, professional workshops, and networking opportunities designed to foster personal and professional growth.

“The workplace has changed dramatically over the last two years. The pandemic’s disproportionate strain on women is significant and varied,” says Joanna Lau, founder and CEO of executive consulting and investment company Lau Acquisitions, who is a member of the School of Business Board of Governors. “It is more important than ever to come together as a community to continue the conversations about navigating work and personal life.”

“Our inaugural event in 2020 put the School of Business on the map as a champion of diversity and inclusion,” says Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. “It was phenomenal to have the business community, faculty, staff and students together to celebrate the mission of the Women for Women Summit. The school is proud to host the event again this year.”

2022 Speakers

Jennet Robinson Alterman, nonprofit consultant and women’s rights advocate, is a native of Charleston, S.C., and has been involved in women’s rights advocacy across the state for the last three decades. She has worked in federal and state government as well as the private and nonprofit sectors. She is currently the chair of the City of Charleston Commission on Women.

Pamela S. Evette, 93rd lieutenant governor of South Carolina and the first female Republican lieutenant governor. An entrepreneur and businesswoman, Evette founded Quality Business Solutions (QBS), a payroll, HR and benefits services firm headquartered in Travelers Rest, S.C. Under her leadership, QBS grew from a start-up to one of the nation’s fastest growing small businesses. Evette has received numerous business and professional accolades, including the ATHENA Leadership Award® and the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award.

Katarina Fjording, head of Volvo Car University and Sustainability Americas at Volvo Car USA, is an automotive veteran with more than 30 years of global experience from Europe, Asia and America. She has headed up billion-dollar industrial green field projects and led +4000 employee organizations.     

Mary Garrett, leadership developer, global marketer and board director, is the president of M. Power Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Garrett is focused on developing executive leaders and helping organizations align brand and culture, customer experience and employee engagement for positive impact on business vitality and growth.

Sara Hastreiter has lived, worked and travelled to over 55 countries as a professional ocean racer, climber and humanitarian. She is currently studying industrial organizational psychology at Harvard University.

Lou Kennedy is president, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation – a certified woman-owned business that employs nearly 2,000 people, produces one billion doses of life-saving medication annually and is a nationwide leader in manufacturing opioid-free pain management drugs.

Joanna Lau is a director, trustee, CEO and entrepreneur with broad strategic operation and technology experience on corporate, private and public boards. She is the founder and CEO of Lau Acquisition Corporation, a technology development company and provider of debt and equity financing as well as consulting services to various industries.

Jodie W. McLean is CEO of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private owners, operators and developers of retail real estate. She has been responsible for the development, redevelopment, acquisition and disposition of more than $15 billion in retail assets.

Barbara L. Melvin is COO at the South Carolina Ports Authority. Melvin oversees terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center and cruise operations. Melvin will become the first woman to lead a Top 10 U.S. operating container port when she becomes president and CEO on July 1. She is the recipient of the 2022 Woman of Courage Award.

Kimmy K. Powell is a mentor, author, speaker, angel investor and serial entrepreneur with 30-plus years of expertise building and scaling multiple 7-figure businesses. Her expertise spans a diverse portfolio of construction to luxury hospitality. Today, Powell is a vocal advocate for young, passionate, budding entrepreneurs providing them framework and momentum in their early ventures.

Andrea Silbert joined the Eos Foundation as its first president in 2007. Eos is a private foundation making charitable investments in efforts to fight hunger and poverty and address structural barriers to gender and racial equity. In 1995, Silbert founded and served as the first CEO of the Center for Women & Enterprise, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit entrepreneurial training centers.

Monique Wilsondebriano has been called a “Women of Distinction” and “The Epitome of the American Dream.” She is one half of the power couple behind the nationally-acclaimed Charleston Gourmet Burger Company. Monique has taken her motto of “be so good that they can’t ignore you” to unbelievable heights.

At press time, sponsors of the event include Designer Brands Incorporated; RPT Realty; The Woodhouse Day Spa and Boutique; Halls; LogicSource; Nexsen Pruet; South Carolina Ports Authority; Nephron Pharmaceuticals; South State Bank; The InterTech Group; Coastal Wealth Management; Credit Provider Think Tank; J.P. MORGAN CHASE; and GREENGAS USA.

For additional information about the second annual Women for Women and to purchase tickets, please visit