Katherine Nero at Women's Conference


CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. (Mar. 14, 2022) — Thomas More University kicked off Women’s History Month with the inaugural Women’s Conference presented by DBL Law. On Friday, March 4, 2022, women were invited to campus to inspire, encourage, and explore their passions at the conference. The first ever Women’s Conference comes on the heels of the celebration of the University’s 100th anniversary, commemorating when the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, founded Villa Madonna College in 1921 to train Catholic schoolteachers and provide a college education to women. 

Guest speakers led empowering sessions, including Cincinnati news anchor, reporter, and social media host Kathrine Nero, who provided the opening address. Nero’s keynote proved impactful and set the tone for the event. Attendee Heather Abbott, assistant director of the Dr. Anthony R. and Geraldine Institute for Academic Excellence at Thomas More, noted, “Kathrine was wonderful and kicked off the day perfectly with lots of energy and positivity. The rest of the day flowed well and kept up that positive energy. It was a really cool inaugural event!” Additional sessions were led by: Becca Gardner, founder and CEO of ALT Distilling, Angela Rivers-Harper, Ph.D., program director of Dress for Success, Thomas More’s own Latorria Myles, assistant dean of students, Heather Ackels ‘07, executive director of INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati, and Jenni Crowley ‘03, Ph.D., senior manager of Deloitte.

The first ever Alice S. Sparks Women’s Leadership Scholarship, to benefit a student at Thomas More, was awarded at the event. Sophomore Sophia Victoria Hermosilla Torres, an international student from Panama City, Panama and majoring in international studies, took home the honor. The Panama City native recognized her mother as an important female role model in her life, saying “she is the living example that having a successful life does not come with name recognition, but with love, happiness, and the work you do for those you care about.” Torres sees the importance of helping her community, working with the non-profit Parlamericas in Panama, and she aspires to one day be an ambassador or work for a non-governmental organization (NGO). 

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The afternoon session of the conference featured “Boss Lady: A Panel of High-Power Leaders,” hosted by Laura Koehl ‘80, Ed.D., executive director of Sisters of Notre Dame USA National Sponsorship and Network Office. The panel featured powerful women in business, including Moira Weir ‘00, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Rachael Sampson ‘20, senior vice president at KeyBank and national director of Key4Women, Priya Dhingra Klocek, president and CEO of Consultant on the Go, and Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy in Ohio and Kentucky. Panelists introduced themselves and their careers and explored how they realized they were a “leader.” “Identify your aspirations; go after your aspirations,” Spiller encouraged the crowd. “Leaders aren’t only at the top of the org chart.”

Attendees gained valuable insights from these prominent women in the community, while learning how to celebrate their accomplishments and set goals for their future. “I walked away motivated with new ways to find inner peace and new ways to help me reach the goals I have in both my personal and professional life,” said Debby Shipp, director of partnership development at Thomas More. “The room was set up beautifully, the food was good, and the networking outstanding.” The date for the 2023 Thomas More Women’s Conference will be announced shortly. We hope to see you there.

For more information about Thomas More University, visit www.thomasmore.edu.


About Thomas More University

For 100 years, Thomas More has created a university for the student who wants to Be More, Do More, Seek More, Win More, Achieve More, and Create More. Since its founding in 1921, Thomas More has provided a mission-driven, liberal arts education that is based in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Students learn to harness the power of human reason to solve problems and discover truth, which allows them to begin the journey to become the person they were created to be. Entering into the second century, it’s time for More. Serving more than 2,000 students, Thomas More aspires to be the premier Catholic university in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, to build upon the #1 ranking for long term gain in Kentucky (2019 Georgetown study) and share with this generation the transformative power of the Thomas More experience. To find out more, visit thomasmore.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyna Kelley, director of communications and PR, kelleyl@thomasmore.edu, 859.344.3309