From left, Assemblywoman Christy Smith, Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook and Congresswoman Katie Hill chat before they speak at the 2019 College of the Canyons Women's Conference held at the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hill, Smith address Women’s Conference at COC

This year’s Women’s Conference seemed to have “a different energy from previous years,” according to attendees at the Saturday event on College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus.

With the theme of “Purpose, Potential, Passion and Peace,” the sold-out 2019 Women’s Conference was held in the college’s University Center and featured a series of professionals — both men and women — from across various industries who spoke on a variety of issues and/or developments within their fields that are important to women as a whole, according to Diane Fierro, chair of the Women’s Conference organizing committee.  

“We really love to reach out to our community and invite them in to discuss the different topics women are interested in,” said Fiero. “We have career track workshops, motivational/inspirational workshops as well as a little vendor fair.”

From 8 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m., attendees heard about topics such as women’s health, financial freedom, striking a balance between home and work life, and much more.

“It’s just been all so incredible,” said Keoma Bailey, a conference attendee and criminal justice student at COC. “To see all the things they’re involved in and know about it… I’m trying to go into a career in probation/parole, so interacting will all these different (speakers) is something that is so needed.”

While this year’s speakers list was designed to create appeal across a large spectrum, the biggest draws for the event were the two keynote speakers: Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, according to Fiero.  

“We were asked to talk about how our life experiences tied in with our political journey,” said Smith. “And (my speech) kind of goes with today’s event… empowering women through exploring different careers, self-discovery and education options.”

Both Smith and Hill are College of the Canyons alumnae, and said they made a point to speak at this year’s Women’s Conference.

“(The Women’s Conference) is about empowering the next generation of women and women all over the place,” Hill said on Saturday. “Until we get to equal representation, we’re never going to have real equality.”

“So much of my campaign ended up showing a lot of women what’s possible, young women and girls especially,” said Hill. “And that’s why a conference like today is so critical.”

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