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WOWPicMarch 8, 2019 -- In the spirit of empowerment, inspiration and encouraging women across all boundaries to recognize their own potential, Westchester County hosted #WOWConversations, a Women’s Empowerment Breakfast. The event, held on International Women’s Day at Purchase College, was created to bring together women of different backgrounds, professions and experiences, to celebrate community and the commitment to supporting one another. With a diverse panel of public servants, business owners, educational and spiritual leaders, the Women of Westchester shared their own personal stories and obstacles they overcame to achieve success. Bonnie Saran, Restauranteur and Owner of a mini-empire of eight Indian restaurants and one food market, was the Keynote Speaker. The Panel included Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Mahjabeen Hassan, Laura Newman, Kris Ruby and Jin Whang. Westchester County Executive George Latimer shared welcome greetings.

“It is fitting that we all be gathered together on International Women’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate the social, academic, political, spiritual and economic achievements of women across the nation,” said Latimer. “This #WOWConversations event is all about unity, reflection and action – a tool to help women acknowledge their own capabilities, and propel them forward to accomplish what may seem unattainable. I hope you all learn something from each other today, and walk away with a new-found motivation to do more in your respective lives and careers.”

Keynote Speaker Bonnie Saran, discussing her leadership style, said: “I always feel that everyone should fight for their dreams because it is always worth it. I have my Father’s final words to me tattooed on my arm – they say ‘let no one steal your dreams.’ That is what is important, all other things come in second. Fight for what you believe in, that is what is important.”

Chairwoman of the American Muslim Women’s Association and practicing Plastic Surgeon at Phelps Memorial Hospital Mahjabeen Hassan, MD, when asked about what she was most proud of, said: “What I am most proud of is the creation of the platform of the ‘American Muslim Women’s Association’ because when people ask me why we included ‘women’ specifically – it is because I wanted to show them that women can do it.”

Former New York State Senator and Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs Ruth Hassell-Thompson, while discussing experience, said: “It was my experiences that influenced the kind of legislative things I pursued, to make sure that when we talk about family leave and those kinds of things, it is my experience that makes up those legislative initiatives.”

Senior Director of Institutional Giving at Manhattanville College Laura Newman, when asked about the how to handle the work-life balance, said: “I am always interested to hear this question because it is usually is only asked of women and I would like to start seeing that this question is asked of men too.”

President and Founder of Ruby Media Group Kris Ruby, when discussing the idea of ‘Women helping Women,’ said: “We need to change the conversation, it’s about people helping people, the more we open up that conversation at large, that’s what it really should be about.”

Creative Director and Marketing & Advertising Specialist of Fait Accompli Group Jin Whang, while discussing opportunities, said: “I just went through a career change, and I saw it as an opportunity. There was a ‘corporate restructuring’ – and we all know what that means. But after you come out of a lay off and you realize you have a cause you want to throw yourself at, I did what I did best and started the job hustle.”

Watch your Favorite Part of the Conference Below:

A Moment at the WOW Conference

County Executive George Latimer

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James

Restauranteur Bonnie Saran

Panel Discussion

Mindfulness Moment