Published 12/14/17

Women's Summit 2018 will Inspire Women to "Rise to the Challenge & Reach New Heights"

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – On Friday, March 16, 2018 Bryant University’s Women’s Summit® will inspire and empower women to "Rise To The Challenge & Reach New Heights!" The event will welcome three powerful keynote speakers known for excellence in their professions and for their commitment to helping women achieve their potential. In order of appearance, they are: Rent the Runway Co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman, Emmy Award-winning producer and author Nely Galan, and Founding Director of The Good Life Initiative Brigid Schulte. Amica Mutual Insurance Company, a longtime supporter of Women’s Summit®, is Platinum Sponsor. 

Registration OPens January 25

The event will also feature a power plenary session, 24 breakout sessions and panel discussions, and 35 presenters focusing on specific areas of personal and professional development such as finance, personal branding, entrepreneurship, technology, and career advancement. Presenters include the country’s most successful business leaders, alumni, and Bryant University faculty experts, including Associate Provost Carol DeMoranville, Ph.D., who will moderate “The View from the Top,” a panel of the region’s top leaders who will share their experience, insights, and advice about success in life and business.

One of the longest-running and most popular conferences held in New England for the last 21 years, the day-long Women’s Summit® has welcomed a sold-out crowd every year. More than 1,000 women and men are expected to attend. Over the years, the Women’s Summit® has welcomed prominent speakers who have helped thousands to discover and achieve their potential. Notable keynotes include Viola Davis, Arianna Huffington, Jane Pauley, Geraldine Ferraro, Mika Brzezinski, Suze Orman, Geena Davis and Sherron Watkins.

21 years of inspiration, empowerment, and practical strategies for success

When Bryant Women’s Summit® Founding Director Kati Machtley, a former nursing educator, came to Bryant in 1996, she was impressed that the institution has always recognized the importance of educating women. With her background in higher education and her experience educating and mentoring women, she enlisted some like-minded colleagues to create the first Women’s Summit®, which was held in 1997. Kati attributes the success of the event 21 years later to perseverance and to her dedicated Bryant University team, noting that her husband, Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley, is one of the event’s strongest advocates. 

“The Women’s Summit® is a result and a reflection of Bryant’s longstanding commitment to educating and supporting women,” said Women’s Summit® director Kati Machtley. “It is exciting and rewarding to see so many women gain inspiration, empowerment, and practical strategies for success—both from the amazing presenters and also from one another.”

Powerful slate of keynote speakers and power plenary session

The 21st Women’s Summit® again offers a high-impact slate of speakers, each with a powerful and impactful message. Kicking things off in the morning will be Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Rent the Runway, a nearly $1 billion company that is disrupting the fashion industry by introducing clothing rental as a utility in women’s lives. With more than six million members and hundreds of designer brands, the company’s 1,100 employees comprise more than 60 percent female and 70 percent minority members.

Nely Galán, a self-made media mogul and the former President of Entertainment for Telemundo, was the first Latina to head a major television network. The Emmy-award winning producer, who has owned and operated her own media company since 1994, helped launch 10 groundbreaking television channels in Latin America and produced more than 700 episodes of programming across all genres in English and Spanish. A Cuban immigrant who achieved success on her own terms, Galán now teaches women of all ages and backgrounds to become entrepreneurs. Inspired by the revolution in entrepreneurship led by multicultural women, she wrote “Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way,” a 2016 New York Times bestseller. The HBO documentary The Latino List featured her as one of the most influential voices in the Latino community. 

Brigid Schulte is founding director of The Good Life Initiative at the nonpartisan think tank, New America, and serves as director of the Better Life Lab, working to transform policy, practice, and culture so that people and families have the opportunity to live their best lives at work and at home. She speaks worldwide on redesigning work cultures, reimagining gender roles for a fairer division of labor and opportunity, and recapturing the value of leisure. Schulte is the author of The New York Times bestseller “Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,” named a Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year by The Washington Post and NPR, and a 2014 Good Reads Finalist for Best Business Book.

The power plenary session will be led by Jody Urquhart, a motivational speaker for more than 16 years, who has coached, facilitated, and consulted for thousands of top organizations across the United States and Canada. Urquhart inspires and connects with her audiences through a humorous delivery she developed as a former stand-up comedian. She is the author of the bestseller “All Work & No Say…Ho Hum, Another Day,” which provides managers with new approaches and techniques for fostering professional satisfaction, encouraging employee development, and building organizational unity. She is the author of the syndicated column The Joy of Work.

Throughout the day and at the Amica Insurance-sponsored networking reception, which follows the closing keynote speaker, Women’s Summit® attendees will have the opportunity to interact and learn from one another.


Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University’s groundbreaking academic programs have been nationally recognized by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has approximately 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students from 32 states and 63 countries. The University is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit