2019 Thrive conference empowers local women in business


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – From in-depth workshops to some friendly competition, the Thrive Lowcountry Women’s Conference was all about empowering local women in business.

For the past three years, the conference has brought women together as an opportunity to network and highlight their successes in the corporate world.

“It’s just a great opportunity to see all the woman leaders and come to all the breakout sessions and learn from everyone and their experiences in the business world,” said Shania Dominique, a University of South Carolina Beaufort attending Thrive.

It also served as an opportunity to discuss local workforce issues.

This year’s keynote speaker was South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, who focused on topics like transportation and affordable housing that directly impact employees in the Lowcountry.

“We are looking at that right now. Everybody’s talking about it,” she said. “The good news is Hilton Head came up in every conversation because they know you have the need.”

More than 200 women attended Thrive this year, where News 3’s Tina Tyus-Shaw served as emcee.

A first for the conference this year was the BizPitch competition. Women-owned businesses or aspiring women entrepreneurs competed to win prizes that will help them expand or start their businesses.

“It was very exciting being here. I think everybody presented well. I’m really happy that the winners that were chosen were amazing ladies,” said Sativa Healthcare owner Cynthia Groff, who competed in BizPitch.

The competition winners were Karen Balerna, founder of Nurse Advocate Partners, LLC and Amy Shippy, founder of Blue Poppy Designs, as well as Katherine Reeves and Jessica Lowther, cofounders of The Refinery Nail Bar and Skin Studio. Each received over $8,000 in cash, professional services and prizes.

The SC Lowcountry SCORE Chapter and the HHI-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce organized this year’s conference.

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