WOW Talks, Panels, and Discussions

WOW Talks, Panels, and Discussions

Speakers and times are subject to change. Additional speakers added daily.


Seating in many of our spaces is limited and all sessions are filled on a first come, first served basis. There are a number of events that require you to reserve a ticket due to limited venue capacity. This applies whether you are a WOW ticket holder or just exploring the free events.

Whether you are a ticket holder or not, you can enjoy free exhibitions and pop-up performances. Of course, all of the WOW topics and speakers are amazing and we are confident that you will find a number of topics to spark your interest!

Food Service

The Dining Hall in Doyle Hall will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. serving an all you care to eat buffet for $10 per person.

The Food Truck Hub will be on site beside Doyle Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Gator Grind, in the lower level of Doyle Hall, will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving grab-and-go items: salads, sandwiches, snacks, Starbucks coffee, beverages, etc.

Book Signing

Author Roxane Gay will be signing pre-purchased copies of any of her books, including her newly released collection of essays, Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. A limited number of books are available for purchase in the WOW Marketplace in MBK Gymnasium.

WOW Parking

Parking on Notre Dame’s campus is free but limited. To accommodate our many campus guests, continuous shuttles will be provided from our off-site lot at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen at 5200 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21210. We also encourage you to use our official ridesharing partner, Lyft to travel to and from the festival. An off-site parking shuttle will run from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Sign language

A sign language interpreter will be available at all talks taking place in LeClerc Auditorium. Reserved seating for the hearing impaired is available in this venue. Please see a room usher to access this reserved seating.


9:00–10:30 a.m.

Opening Session Featuring #MeToo Founder and Activist Tarana Burke

LeClerc Auditorium

Join us for the opening session of WOW 2018! Hear a special message from WOW Founder Jude Kelly and the Women’s Year in Review. #MeToo Founder and Activist Tarana Burke will deliver remarks followed by a moderated Q&A.

Special message from Jude Kelly, Founder of Women of the World

Welcome from Marylou Yam, President, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Special message from Oana A Brooks, Esq. WOW Baltimore Advisory Chair

In Review: Year of the Woman by Denise Koch, Anchor, WJZ TV

Introduction by Elissa Blount-Moorhead, Filmmaker, Writer, Curator

Tarana Burke, #MeToo Founder and Activist, Filmmaker, Curator and Author in Conversation with India Gary-Martin, WOW Global Ambassador

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Under 12s Gender Equality Corner
(ages 8-12)

university Academic Building Tech Hub

WE Schools Maryland will be presenting a program focused on women’s empowerment through opportunity and entrepreneurship. Spotlighting WE Villages international opportunity projects in Kenya, WE Schools will inspire young women to use their skills and talents to empower themselves and inspire those around them.

Workshop (Space is limited)

Jacquelyn Bullock, Director, Education Partnerships for

Gabrielle Caddell, Youth Action Facilitator, WE Schools

11:00a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Trailblazing Women of Baltimore

LeClerc Auditorium

Women are leading many successful sectors of Baltimore. From public health and social entrepreneurship to technology and finding and paving a path to success, these women are blazing trails and shaping new narratives for the city. Join this conversation as key leaders from across Baltimore gather together.


Special recording: Baltimore Sun’s Podcast, Female Trouble

Moderator: Quinn Kelley, Mulimedia Journalist, The Baltimore Sun and Host, Female Trouble Podcast

Sheela Murthy, Founder, Murthy Law Firm

Deb Tillett, President, Emerging Technology Centers

Jamie McDonald, Founder, Generosity Inc.

Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner, City of Baltimore

Linda Singh, Major General, MD Army National Guard

Human Trafficking in Baltimore: Ending the Violence Against Women and Girls

Doyle Formal

If you think it doesn’t happen here, think again. Human trafficking is prevalent in Maryland and across the United States. Learn more about why it’s so prevalent, the impact on survivors and those yet to escape this modern-day form of slavery.


Moderator: Patti Provance, Deputy Director, National Women’s Studies Association

Jessica Emerson, Director, Human Trafficking Prevention Project; Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic

Alicia McDowell, Founder and Executive Director at Araminta Freedom Initiative

Menopause Café

CAFÉ Space 1 (MBK Sports Complex)

Join this informal discussion group to increase menopause awareness and its affect on individuals and their relationships. Story sharing and questions are welcome. This session is open to all genders and ages.

Discussion Group

Facilitator: Paula Slomin Derry, Ph.D., Menopause Researcher, Holistic Health Practitioner and Educator

Conquering the Confidence Gap

Knott 110

Are you “winging it”? Afraid you’ll be found out any minute? Come along to discover how the confidence gap is connected to gender and gender inequality and learn tools to help you overcome it.


Moderator: Oana A. Brooks, Esq., Chair, WOW Baltimore Advisory Board

Mischa Toland, Founder, Girls as CEOs

Brittany Oliver, Founding Director, Not Without Black Women

Susan Reimer, Columnist, Baltimore Sun (retired)

Women Food Entrepreneurs of Baltimore

Knott Auditorium

Women make up over half of restaurant workers, but only 19% hold chef positions and even fewer are owners or proprietors. Hear from Baltimore women who have taken charge and crafted their vision of a food business—and why being a woman in the field makes a difference.


Moderator: Lena Tashjian, Writer and Influencer, Dinewellbmore

Carrie Podles, Owner, Alexander’s Tavern

Jasmine Norton, Founder, The Urban Oyster and Wicked Sisters

Nikki Marks-McGowan, Co-Owner, Share Kitchen of Baltimore and Owner of Mindgrub Cafe

WOW Bites

Knott 311

Short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments delivered by all sorts of women with amazing stories. Four speakers cover a wide range of subjects from the serious to the very frivolous.

Anna Fowlkes, Independent HIV Prevention Advocate and Spokesperson on The Graying of HIV

Shantell Roberts, Founder & Executive Director, Touching Young Lives, Incorporated (TYL, Inc.) and the Portable Alternative Crib Initiative on turning pain into a purposeful venture and saving local infants with a simple solution!

Christina Brickwedde, Ambassador, Hike Like A Woman on Finding Peace and Self-Love on a Trail and in the Outdoors

Jennifer Folayan, Creator, B’more Aloha on Three Secrets To Activating Your A-Game told from a survivor of rape, incest and a graduate of the foster care system

Money: Understanding Planning, Risk and Reward

Knott 108

Whether it’s earning less, saving less, or investing less than their male counterparts, women face unique challenges when it comes to finance. Women of all budgets are invited to get some tips on how to save and spend better in this session.


Bonnie Stein, President and CEO, Jemma Financial Services

Yoga with DivaYogi Michelle Stafford

MBK Dance Studio

Michelle Stafford has been teaching yoga for over 8 years, and personal training for over a decade. Her focus is on alignment, spinal stabilization, joint mobility, and overall strength.

Facilitator: Michelle Stafford, Health and Wellness Director, the Living Well Center

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Self-Care for Women of Color

Café Space 2 (MBK Sports Complex)

In this workshop, we will discuss, identify, and explore ways to integrate self-care into our daily lives. We will also explore what self-care looks like to each individual and present options for those who are not currently utilizing self-care. All are welcome to attend.

Discussion Group

Hope Gilchrist, Counselor, MA, LCPC

Dr. Kizzy Pitrell, Counseling Psychologist

12:10–12:25 p.m. Performances

Shelby Blondell, Baltimore singer & songwriter

WOW Market Stage

Oboe Duo, Classical Oboe

Knott Science Building Lobby | 12:00–12:20

QueenEarth, acoustic singer/songwriter

LeClerc Hall Lobby | 12:00–12:20

12:30–1:30 p.m.

Speed Mentoring Session I

University Academic Building Room 106

Share your challenges, exchange ideas, and explore different perspectives. This session is open to all, for you to discuss whatever challenge you would like, big or small. Mentors come from a diverse range of professions and backgrounds. You might be paired with a taxi driver or a taxidermist, an astronaut or an army general.

Sponsored by Jemma Financial Services

Sex Café

CAFÉ Space 1 (MBK Sports Complex)

Pop in to this discussion group guided by the founder of VagEsteem™, a workshop series and podcast that encourages good and healthy sex through courageous conversations about love, sex, relationships, and everything in between.

Discussion Group

Facilitator: Vanessa Geffrard, Founder, VagEsteem™

Aging and Independence

Doyle Formal

Join this open and practical conversation about women, aging, and independence. Living our best lives into our golden years will be discussed.


Moderator: Denise Koch, Anchor, WJZ TV

Deborah Bakalich, Owner, Senior Care Lifestyles

Carmel Roques, President and CEO, Keswick Multi-Care

Bonnie Stein, President and CEO, Jemma Financial Services

Ain’t I A Sista Too?

Knott auditorium

At the Women’s Rights Convention in 1851, Sojourner Truth famously asked “Ain’t I a Woman?” 167 years later, we are tweaking that question –—while maintaining its core racial and gender context. Join us for an intergenerational “get real” discussion that only girlfriends plotting evolution at the kitchen table can have.


Moderator: A. Adar Ayira, Senior Leadership, Associated Black Charities

Harriet Smith, Trainer, Baltimore Racial Justice Action

Dr. Erica K. Taylor, Racial Justice Activist, Baltimore Racial Justice Action

Scary Mommy, Jill Smokler

leclerc Auditorium

Jill Smokler started an innocent online baby book to chronicle her stay-at-home days with her children. It transformed into a massive vibrant community of millions of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect.


Moderator: Jill Smokler, Founder, Scary Mommy

Christine Michel Carter, Millennial Mom and Writer

WOW Bites

Knott 311

Short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments delivered by all sorts of women with amazing stories. Four speakers cover a wide range of subjects from the serious to the very frivolous.

Gemma Wenner, Founder of Guayana’s Coconut Festival on Women’s Leadership in Unconventional Places

Kate Bowers, Vice President at Weinberg Harris Public Relations and WOW Advisory Board Member on You Don’t Own Me: Self Talk, Eating Disorders, and Learning to Honor Your Body

Alysha January, Founder, @DiscoverCharmCity on How I Became a Social Media Influencer

Alyscia Cunningham, Author, Filmmaker, and Photographer on the creation of Feminine Transitions as a Middle Finger to the Media

Teens Talk Back–Activism

Knott 108

Join teenage girls discussing feminism and activism: is it cool, do they like the words, and do you care what others think? Whatever your age, this is your chance to hear from teens about their lives, thoughts and expectations – from the tough realities to straightforward optimism.

Facilitator: Ashley Day, Program Director for the Pay it Forward Internship Program, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Foundation

Anna Hilger, Baltimore March for Our Lives Organizer

Daisheau Player, Senior, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Bollywood Dance Lesson

MBK Dance Studio

Bend it like Bollywood is not only a dance learning academy but a place where students learn to find themselves and express their true selves through the wonderful art form of dance. Come move your body to the Bollywood beat!

Let’s Talk Fashion

Knott 110

This exciting panel will feature leading lights of the international fashion community who claim Charm City as home! Panelists will explore the joys and challenges of running fashion businesses, their design philosophies and Baltimore as an incubator for emerging fashion talent.

Moderator: Jessica Gregg, Managing Editor, Mid-Atlantic Media

Jody Davis, CEO and Designer, Jody Davis Design

Tori Soudan, Owner and Designer, Tori Soudan Collection

Zoe Washington, Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor at Brit+Co.

1:00–2:00 p.m.

Friendship for Millenials

Café Space 2 (MBK Sports Complex)

Making friends as an adult can be hard! The Society of Excellent Women aims to create safe, inclusive spaces and events in which wom*n in Baltimore can find each other for friendship.

Discussion Group

Facilitator: Brittany Wight, Founder, Society of Excellent Women

1:30–3:30 p.m.

Under 12s Gender Equality Corner
(ages 8-12)

WE Schools Maryland will be presenting a program focused on women’s empowerment through opportunity and entrepreneurship. Spotlighting WE Villages international opportunity projects in Kenya, WE Schools will inspire young women to use their skills and talents to empower themselves and inspire those around them.

Workshop (Space is limited)

Facilitator: Jacquelyn Bullock, Director, Education Partnerships for

Facilitator: Gabrielle Caddell, Youth Action Facilitator, WE Schools

1:40–1:55 p.m. Performances

Baltmore HoopLove

Big Tent

OLGA Comedy

WOW Marketplace Stage

Ruedas Casinos

LeClerc Lobby | 1:30 – 1:50

2:00–3:00 p.m.

Death Café

Café Space 1 (MBK Sports Complex)

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us to discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.

Discussion Group

Facilitator: Rev. Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, NDMU

Factuality: A Crash Course in Structural Inequality

Doyle Formal

FACTUALITY is a facilitated dialogue, crash course, and board game, all in one, that simulates real life experiences in America. All are welcome as we learn about structural inequality and how it affects various members of society.


Facilitator: Natalie Gillard, Creator/Assisant Vice President, Multicultural Experience, Stevenson University

Speed Mentoring Session II

University Academic Building 106

Share your challenges, exchange ideas, and explore different perspectives. Mentors come from a diverse range of professions and backgrounds. You might be paired with a taxi driver or a taxidermist, an astronaut or an army general. This session is open to all.

How We Can Raise Our Sons to Be Good Men

Knott Auditorium

In spite of positive changes in recent years, we’re still raising our sons to be the boss, tough it out, be in control, show no emotion, and always be the winner. This causes terrible problems for women, but it sets boys up for failure; for these are ideals that no boy or man can live up to. This inspiring and positive talk helps us learn how we can do a much better job.


Dr. Michael Kaufman, Co-founder, The White Ribbon Campaign

Q&A with Dr. Marylou Yam, NDMU President

Fun with Chemistry

LeClerc Auditorium

Dr. Kate “The Chemist” Biberdorf’s presentation is sure to ignite, inspire, and motivate! Catch her infectious love for learning and exploration in the sciences in a demonstration that is not to be missed. This presentation is a blast for all ages!


Dr. Kate Biberdorf, Professor, University of Texas–Austin

Moderator: Sarah Hasnain, NDMU Student and Founder of NDMU’s Society of Women Engineers

Transgender Activism: On Our Own Terms

KNott 311

How do transgender and non binary people interact with the battle for gender equality and what do these identities tell us about notions of womanhood?

Conversation with Monica Stevens, founding member of The Baltimore Transgender Alliance and Director of Sistas of the T.

Take political action

Knott 108

We need more women in politics and it starts here. In this session you can learn from women experiencing the political process about growing your political voice, campaigning for a cause you believe in, and running for office.


Moderator: Nykidra Robinson, Founder, Black Girls Vote

Krish Vignarajah, Candidate, MD Governor

Elizabeth Embry, Candidate, MD Lieutenant Governor

Natalie Caraballo, Operations Specialist, Running Start

Activism Beyond Borders

knott 110

What can US-based activists learn from their international sisters? Hear international changemakers speak about how you can turn local activism into global solidarity.


Moderator: Nicholas Dippel, Field Based Recruiter, Peace Corps

Meisha Robinson, Director of Communications, National Peace Corps Association and Founder and Executive Director, I Am, We Are

Tausi Suedi MPH, Co-founder, Childbirth Survival International

Micah Castelo, Writer and NDMU Student

Insha Hamdani, New Program Development, Johns Hopkins University

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Feminism Then and Now

Café Space 2 (MBK Sports Complex)

Has the fight for gender equality evolved since the second wave of feminism? Join the discussion about the feminist movement. Has it changed over time or stayed the same?

Discussion Group

Denise Koch, Anchor, WJZ TV

Brittany Oliver, Founding Director, Not Without Black Women

Betty G. Robinson, Community Organizer and Activist

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Mandala Art Therapy

Big Tent

Mandalas offer a place and way to bring together experiences, parts of life, feelings, and find meaning. Carl Jung is credited with introducing the Eastern concept of the mandala to Western thinking. He connected the form and practice with a complete expression of the Self. Making a mandala simply means creating an image within any circular space. Self-created mandalas might be considered mirrors of your inner self and symbolic of your potential for change and transformation. Their creation can provide particular support during stress or intense activity.


Facilitator: Cathy Goucher, Program Director, Art Therapy Department, NDMU

3:10–3:25 p.m. Performances

Bolivian Folk Dancers

WOW Market Stage

Baltimore Hoop Love

Knott Science Building Lobby | 3:00–3:25

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Roxane Gay in Conversation with
Tressie McMillan Cottom

leclerc auditorium

Gay’s newly edited collection of essays, Not That Bad, Dispatches from Rape Culture, addresses what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are ‘routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied’ for speaking out.

Roxane and Tressie tackle this and a host of other relevant and timely topics in conversation you won’t want to miss!

Introduction by Dr. Maeve O’Donovan, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy Department, NDMU.

Book signing from 4:30–5:00 p.m.

4:30–5:00 p.m.

Sand Mandala Dissolution Ceremony

WOW Market Stage

Mandalas are hand-made and impermanent works of art. This delicate WOW Baltimore mosaic will be ceremoniously brushed away and returned to nature. Join us for this moving ceremony.

5:10–5:25 p.m. Performance

Shelby Blondell, Baltimore Singer and Songwriter

WOW Market Stage

5:30–6:00 p.m.

picks of the Festival

WOW Market Stage

It’s impossible to go to everything. Hear a summary of today’s program with speakers and performers from across the festival.


Moderator: India Gary-Martin, WOW Global Ambassador

6:00–7:00 p.m.

Closing Reception

Toast WOW Baltimore and solidify the connections you’ve made during the day. Cheers to a memorable experience!

Positive Transformation for
Baltimore and Beyond

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