Women in Wholesale Unite

WSWA's Women's Leadership Council Conference Draws Record Numbers

By Kristen Bieler November 16, 2018
Beverage Media Group

The second annual WSWA Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) Conference took place on September 20th-21st in Washington, DC. Representing wholesalers across the country, 56 senior executives gathered for networking as well as personal and professional development via what is becoming the industry’s most important organization for developing and promoting women in the wine and spirits wholesale business.
“It’s so exciting to see the true purpose of the Women’s Leadership Council—to promote the advancement of women in the wholesale tier—come to life through the WLC Conference,” said Dina Opici, Opici Family Distributing and WLC Chair. “Having the ability to network with your fellow peers and exchange best practices while being exposed to women leaders across various sectors is so inspiring.”
Only three years old, WLC has already proved transformative, says board member Jennifer Zenker, Breakthu Beverage Group: “What started as a grassroots effort to create casual networking opportunities has blossomed into a formal leadership conference and more holistic awareness about essential industry issues.”
Attendees headed to Capitol Hill for a reception with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Laura Dove, Secretary for the Majority, a senior executive leadership position in the U.S. Senate. 2018 WLC Icon Award recipient Sue McCollum, Chairman and CEO of Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors, addressed the group to share her story of leadership and perseverance.
Conference sessions featured a panel on Women at the Top of Their Game showcasing association leaders Katherine Lugar, CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and Dawn Sweeney, CEO of the National Restaurant Association along with Cathy Huyghe, CEO of Enolytics. WSWA President and CEO Michelle Korsmo offered insights on her career and future focus. Moderator Hillary Wirtz of Breakthru Beverage Group led a panel featuring women in wholesale addressing how they handle challenges in life and work.
“If you love this industry wouldn’t you want to be a part of making it even better?” asked WLC Co-Chair Philana Bouvier, Senior VP of Young’s Market Group, who believes the organization’s work is just beginning. “What we do with WLC will improve the outcomes for everyone, but most especially give a voice to the ideas, contributions, and benefits women bring to the table when empowered.”