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Event highlights include keynote speaker Rachel Cargle and a diversity, equity and inclusion interactive training session presented by Frewine Kiros.

COURTESY: JUNIOR LEAGUE OF PORTLAND - A panel of women talk about the challenges they faced starting their own businesses as part of the 2019 Rose City Summit. After taking a break last year, the event returns on May 11 as a virtual conference.

After taking a break last year, the Rose City Summit will return in May as a virtual event.

This will be the fourth year the Junior League of Portland (JPL) has presented the conference, which aims to advance and support the group's goals to develop the potential of women in Portland and empower local communities.

The group cancelled the summit last year due to the state-issued stay-at-home order to reduce the spread of Covid-19, with the expectation the 2021 Summit would be an in-person event at the Red Lion at Jantzen Beach. However, with the number of Oregonians vaccinated still low, the decision was made to shift the upcoming May 11 summit to a virtual platform, Kaycee Wiita, chair of the event, told Opportunity magazine.

This year's summit features an agenda informed by the calls during the past year for racial equity and inclusion.

"Because of the turmoil around the country and in Portland this past year, (we) decided we really needed to do an event that would be very community-minded and really address this issue," Wiita said.

Rachel Cargle, a widely recognized activist and speaker on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion, will serve as keynote speaker. In addition to founding the Loveland Foundation, Cargle is the author of the book "I Don't Want Your Love and Light."

The event also will feature diversity, equity and inclusion training presented by Frewine Kiros, a co-founder of the Portland-based Center for Equity and Inclusion. The interactive session aims to help attendees develop a common language that can be used to improve and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their organizations and workplaces.

COURTESY: JUNIOR LEAGUE OF PORTLAND - Junior League of Portland member Pleschette Fontenet addresses attendees during the 2019 Rose City Summit.

"People want to know what they can do, and we thought this would be a good start for businesses to bring their people, to start a discussion, to talk about the culture in their workplaces and how they can change that ," Wiita said. "The expectation isn't that people will walk away from this training with a perfect set of tools, but we hope they will have enough tools to follow up on their own and get more training."

Table talk

JPL has held events in past years using a hybrid approach, so Wiita says the group is adept at doing large-group meetings and conferences virtually. For the upcoming Rose City Summit, they are using a new platform called Airmeet, which offers features similar to the experience of attending an event in person.

During the Summit, for example, attendees will "sit" in small groups at virtual tables. Employees from a single company can even request to sit together.

"For breakout sessions, (each) group will be moved to their own breakout room," Wiita said. "Company teams can work together on the questions and the issues as part of the training to make it more meaningful to them and what their organizations are needing and facing."

Also similar to attending an in-person event, the platform will allow Kiros to bring attendees up on "stage" for interactive portions of the training session.

"It's different from other platforms, and we're really excited to be able to use it for the Summit," Wiita told Opportunity magazine.

The Rose City Summit has been scheduled to allow attendees to participate and still have time to take care of other work- and life-related tasks. Pre-event networking rooms will open at 7 a.m., with opening remarking scheduled to start at 8. Wiita said the Summit is expected to wrap up by 1 p.m.

Tickets are available at three levels: basic livestream attendance — $55; livestream plus a bag lunch and swag bag — $95; livestream plus VIP bag lunch and swag bag — $150. More information and registration can be found on the Rose City Summit website:

Rose City Summit

When: May 11, 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Where: Virtual evet


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