Student’s dream becomes a reality with inaugural Lydia Conference

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What started as a dream for senior international affairs major Carrie Cowart, is now a platform for women to encourage each other as part of the Lydia Conference.

"I had this idea my senior year of high school to start a conference where women in the business world could pour into the next generation of students who aspire to also one day be successful, but put it in the back of my mind because I didn’t think I was much of a leader at that point,” said Cowart.

“I eventually got to the point of realizing that if I don’t start this myself, it may never happen. So I contacted Lipscomb’s College of Business to help me do so."

LydiaConf_SIDEOn March 7, in conjunction with Lipscomb’s Women’s Empowerment Week, nearly 150 Lipscomb students and close to 30 business professionals attended the inaugural Lydia Conference, which  gave women from the Nashville community the opportunity to share candidly about their dreams and future careers as well as how to tactfully invest in the next generation of women who will rise as tomorrow’s industry leaders.

For nearly eight months, Cowart worked alongside Beth Mangrum, annual gift fund and event director in Lipscomb’s College of Business, to plan the inaugural event.

“I told her my idea of the Lydia Conference and how I wanted Lipscomb’s College Of Business to be a part of it in some way,” she said. “We met many times throughout the next eight months preparing the foundation and finalizing the details of the Lydia Conference.”

LydiaConf_SIDE2During the inaugural Lydia Conference, Suzanne Sager, assistant dean for professional development and engagement in Lipscomb’s College of Business, led a panel discussion for Lipscomb students to hear from featured successful business women including that included 5 by 5 Agency’s Shannon Litton; founder and CEO of the Cupcake Collection Mignon Francios; director of grants management and strategic partnerships at American Baptist College and adjunct faculty at Lipscomb University Phyllis Hildreth; vice chair to the advisory board of Asurion Insurance Sue Nokes and Deborah Beyer M.D., internal medicine and pediatrics at St. Thomas Medical Group.

Cowart says she now has big plans for The Lydia Conference in the future.

“We have had so much positive feedback from this conference, which was really a trial, that I’m excited to announce we are starting to plan our second Lydia Conference for fall 2018,” she said. “I hope to find a strong group of young women who are passionate about their future careers and empowering women and help those young women build Lydia and keep it going long after I graduate.”

Want to know more about Lipscomb’s College Of Business and how it empowers women like Carrie? Visit