May 23, 2024

Presented by the Washington Center for Women in Business & Thurston Economic Development Council

Thank you to our 2024 Sponsors!

Join us for INSPIRE 2024

Join us at the South Puget Sound Community College Lacey Campus for an incredible day of inspiration and networking! This in-person event is designed to empower and uplift women in business. Connect with like-minded individuals, gain valuable insights from successful entrepreneurs, and discover new strategies to take your business to the next level.

Congratulations to the Winners of INSPIRE 2024 Small Business Awards!

Innovation Award

Anna Sun & Amy Yan, Nowadays

Leadership Award

Shatara Mason, The Archetype Foundation

Communiy Impact Award

Lia Kleiner & Christina Turner, Critical Time Intervention

We are so pleased to welcome our 2024 keynote speakers!

Vanessa Munson

U.S. Army HR Specialist, Miss Washington 2023

Originally from Battle Ground, WA, Vanessa is a U.S. Army Human Resource Specialist at Joint Base Lewis-McCord. She is also a senior at American Military University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in Marketing. She’ll use her $19,000+ in scholarships awarded in 2023 to complete a master’s degree in business administration and become a Management and Program Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

As a woman with a disability (she wears a permanent hearing aid), her community service initiative is titled “Beauty and Beyond: What is your Beautiful?” and is targeted to eradicate the beauty standards in today’s society. Her mission is to empower young women and men to focus on being self-confident through skill-building, goal setting, motivation, and kindness. She has partnered with Girls Inc., Dress for Success Seattle, and speaks in various school districts. Vanessa is the first active duty military member to also serve as Miss Washington.

Jesse Downs

Jesse is currently on the Board of the Nahmschahts Foundation and an Advisor to the David Cottrell Fund. From 2021 to 2024, Jesse was the COO of Willapa Bay Enterprises, the Section 17 Tribal Enterprises of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe in Southwest Washington. Prior to this, she was the Tribal Administrator for the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. Prior to her work in government, Jesse worked primarily in international real estate development and investment advisory for over 10 years, primarily in the Middle East. She was a regional expert and often feature on international media.

Jesse has a MPA in Tribal Governance from The Evergreen State College, a MA in Sociology from the American University in Beirut, and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.

Our Special Guests

Annie Evans
Founder & Owner of Spruce Shoppe
Ashley Whitley
MC & Program Manager of the Washington Center for Women in Business
Cathy Visser
Owner of True for You Nutrition, LLC
Dr. Jennifer Thomas
Public Speaker & Life Coach, Chameleon O’Clock, LLC
Heidi McCutcheon
Deputy Director for Thurston EDC
Jaya Mallik M. Ed.
Owner of Jaya Mallik Coaching & Consulting: DEI Services
Kate Isler
Co-Founder/CEO of the WMarketplace
Lorelei Felchlin
Executive Director of Sahale Outdoors
Makayla Roberson
CEO/Head Baker of Maks Snack Shack
Melanie M. Norton
District Director of the SBA Seattle
Melanie Montgomery
Native Action Network
Michael Cade, Host
Executive Director at Thurston Economic Development Council
Michelle Pope
Director of the Lacey MakerSpace
Tammy Birklid
President/Owner of Merit Construction
Tierra Bonds
Owner of Take Charge Credit Consulting
Tiffany Scroggs
Program Director of Washington APEX Accelerator

Our Vendors

INSPIRE 2024 Conference Agenda

8:00 am - 8:30 am

Registration & Networking

Vendors and Silent Auction open

8:30 am - 9:00 am

Opening Announcements

Ashley Whitley & Michael Cade

9:00 am - 9:30 am

Opening Speech: "Find Your Fuel"

Dr. Jen Thomas

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Business Panel Q&A

Makayla Roberson, Lorelei Felchlin, Tierra Bonds, Cathy Visser, Annie Evans
Panel Host: Heidi McCutcheon

10:45 am - 11:15 am

1st Keynote Speaker

Jesse Downs

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

"First, Commit to Yourself!"

Melanie Montgomery  

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

"5 Things You Might Not Know About SBA Lending"

Melanie M. Norton

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Catered Lunch

Vendors, silent auction, & networking open
Attendee Giveaways

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

"In a Man's World"

Tammy Birklid

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm

2nd Keynote Speaker: "A Life of Overcoming"

Vanessa Munson, Miss Washington
2:00pm - 2:30pm *Pictures Available with Miss Washington*

2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Breakout Workshops *Close of Silent Auction*

Jaya Mallik - "Theory to Practice: Integrating DEI for Business Success"
Kate Isler - "Next Level eCommerce:
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs for Global Success"
Tiffany Scroggs - "Leveraging Your Woman Owned Business Status"

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Awards, Honorable Mentions, Silent Auction Winners

Michelle Pope & Ashley Whitley

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Cocktail & Networking Hour

Drinks, Vendors, & Networking

INSPIRE 2024 Conference Agenda

8:00 am

Registration and Networking

Continental breakfast provided

8:30 am

Opening Ceremony

8:45 am

Public Speaker, Chameleon O'Clock LLC (Dr. Jen Thomas)

9:15 am

Keynote Speaker, Stacey McQuade-Eger, J.D.

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development

9:45 am

Panel Discussion – 5 Local Small Businesses

10:45 AM


11:00 am

Business Expert, Native Action Network

Melanie Montgomery

11:30 am

SBA Loan Programs, Deputy District Director of U.S. Small Business

Melanie M. Norton

12:00 pm

Networking Lunch

1:00 pm

Keynote Speaker, Miss WA, Vanessa Munson

1:30 pm

Business Expert


2:00 pm

Business Expert, Tiffany Scroggs

Program Director of Washington Apex Accelerator

2:45 pm

E-Commerce Expert, Kate Isler


3:15 pm

Award Ceremony

Recognition of Outstanding Women in Business

4:00 pm

Cocktail Hour & Networking

Thanks to the Women-Owned Businesses supporting INSPIRE 2024!

Jenna Mason Media

Event Videographer

Visit their Website!

Shanna Paxton Photography

Event Photographer

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The Crowded Kitchen Catering Co.

Event Caterer

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Register Today!

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