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Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). To learn more about how you can become a mentor in the Peace Through Business program or donate to the organization, visit Contact her at


More Than 300 Women-Owned Businesses and Fortune 500 Companies Celebrate WBEC South’s 25th Anniversary

METAIRIE, La., – September 18, 2019 – It will be A Night to Remember as the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the annual WE Summit & Awards Gala on September 26, 2019 in New Orleans. More than 300 women business enterprises (WBEs), supplier diversity professionals and buyers from across the nation are expected to attend the conference and the Black and White Masquerade Gala held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

“We look forward to honoring outstanding WBEs and corporate partners who have helped grow this organization the past 25 years,” says Ms. Phala Mire, CEO, WBEC South. “Because of their commitment, certified WBEs contribute $16.2 billion in economic impact and 73,000 jobs in our region.”

The conference kicks-off on Wednesday, September 25th with a special focus on women-owned businesses with a WBE Forum Networking & Luncheon at 12:00 p.m. followed by a pitch showcase Show & Sell. A welcome reception and sneak peek of the new WB Collective co-working and collaborative workspace is at 5:00 p.m. at 401 St. Joseph Street in New Orleans.

On Thursday, September 26th, Breakfast of Champions at 9:00 a.m. features a keynote address by Ms. Jennifer Brown, founder, Jennifer Brown Consulting, an award-winning entrepreneur, author, speaker, and diversity and inclusion expert. She will discuss her latest book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive, released in August 2019.

A panel discussion at 11:00 a.m. follows titled A Real World Discussion: The Path to Inclusion featuring Ms. Brown, Ms. Candace Waterman, president and CEO of WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy), Ms. Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of WBENC and Ms. Valerie Grubb, author, Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality.

There will be matchmaker opportunities for WBEs on Thursday afternoon with Fortune 500 corporations seeking diverse suppliers for their procurement needs.

The 25th Anniversary festivities include a cocktail reception and silent auction benefitting WBEC South followed by a Black and White Masquerade Gala and awards ceremony. Tickets to the WE Summit & Awards Gala are available on Eventbrite. Online registration is open until Monday, September 23rd.

About Women’s Business Enterprise Council South
Celebrating its 25th year, the mission of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South) is to advance and enhance business opportunities between corporations and women-owned businesses through a reputable certification program, education and professional growth opportunities. WBEC South facilitates the nationally recognized and most relied upon certification program, WBENC Certification, for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Learn more at

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