ICAN: Record-breaking Partnerships: Growing Support for Women’s Leadership Development

The 30th anniversary of the ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference is marked by a record number of conference partners, boasting 43 at the time of this writing. These partners are expressing their support for the conference’s mission of taking on bold conversations that impact the future of women leaders locally and globally.
Partnerships range from $10,000 to $30,000 and offer different co-branding and recognition opportunities. A full list of sponsors is available on page 8 of this section.

The Support

“We call our sponsors partners because we work to build a mutually beneficial, lasting relationship,” said Julie Burrell Lillig, vice president of strategic partnerships for ICAN. “Our partners are essential in helping us make the ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference a success year after year.”

Burrell Lillig said that the increased partnerships reflect the growing support for women’s leadership development and the benefits that come with cultivating strong leaders that are dedicated to creating more diverse workplaces. 

“There’s increasing recognition of the value of strong leaders and diverse leadership teams – and many organizations are taking steps to promote gender diversity and inclusion,” she said. “Sponsoring a women’s leadership conference can demonstrate a company’s commitment to promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It shows that the company recognizes the importance of developing and promoting women leaders and is willing to invest resources to support this goal. And by the way, research shows that the companies that have more diverse leadership perform better!”

The Growth

Burrell Lillig noted that the continued conference growth year after year proves the value that the event has on the people that attend, as well as the organizations that they represent. 

“It brings together individuals from different companies and backgrounds, providing an opportunity for employees to network with peers, potential allies, and new connections,” she said. “These connections can lead to new business opportunities, collaborations, and career advancement. I think our attendance growth reflects the importance of developing strong leaders who can make big impacts in their organizations … By investing in the development of their employees, organizations can create a more skilled, motivated workforce that is better equipped to meet challenges – and this can translate into tangible financial benefits for the organization.”

HDR, one of ICAN’s partners, has a company mission that aligns with the conference’s mission to empower women in leadership. 

- Advertisement -

“In the days after the conference, our HDR attendees come together to share their experiences,” said Paula Renner, associate vice president at HDR and ICAN Conference Advocacy Committee member. “The energized conversation is full of takeaways, ‘a-ha’ moments and motivations that spur action. For some, the conference builds confidence to share their ideas. For others, it reinforces the value they bring to the organization and enhances their network.”

Another business partner Haleon, sends employees to the event with the intention to bring back inspiration. 

“The ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference is an event that is empowering and has proven possibilities are endless,” said Carol Wisecarver, human resources business partner at Haleon. “I can still remember a quote from last year; ‘I can do hard things’ by Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe.  

“This quote has stuck with me all year. We all struggle through hard things. A person’s resiliency is what gets us through this thing we call ‘Life.’ If the employees from Haleon Consumer Health can grab just one little nugget like this quote, we will all be able to do hard things together and come out stronger in the end.”

This year’s theme of ‘Leading Bold Conversations’ has clearly created a buzz within organizations. It gives women the tools to speak up about important issues – giving them a voice to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces. 

“The ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference offers analysis of the most transformative and important discussions shaping business,” Burrell Lillig said. “When you know there’s an expert resource that will synthesize information into the most important trends delivered by incredible speakers, it’s a smart and easy choice to attend.”