University of Tennessee

Women’s Leadership Summit Features Media Mogul Susan Packard

March 16, 2016

The Office of Diversity and Community Relations at the Haslam College of Business hosted its inaugural Women in Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summit on Friday, March 4. The event featured keynote speaker Susan Packard, co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive and former chief operating officer of HGTV.

Nearly 50 participants connected with Packard and six other female professionals across multiple industries for mentorship-focused discussions. The summit was organized with a nod to International Women’s Day the following week, providing a platform for meaningful dialogue surrounding challenges women face in business.

“The summit was created to give our female students an opportunity to hear from and network with successful women business and community leaders, who can serve as mentors and role models for them,” said Tyvi Small, director of diversity and community relations at Haslam. “They were able to dialogue about issues that are unique to women in the workplace and gained some insight on how to navigate those issues.”

Workshop topics included the art of negotiation, thriving in male-dominated fields, pitching with power and women in entrepreneurship. Annette Ranft, senior associate dean for academic affairs, said the summit was a unique opportunity for students to connect with female role models and develop career goals.

“It is an honor to have had such an impressive roster of female entrepreneurs and executives committed to helping shape the next generation of future female leaders,” Ranft said. “Given how quickly the registration process filled the summit to capacity, our students clearly recognized the value of this opportunity.”

The Office of Diversity intends to make this an annual event and to expand capacity as the program grows.



Janice Branch (865-974-8835,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,