WSWA Women’s Leadership Council Wraps Up Third Annual Conference

Sep 13, 2019
Philanthropy, professional skills development and keynote speakers at historic Mount Vernon

WASHINGTON – The Third Annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) Conference wrapped Thursday evening at historic Mount Vernon with record-level participation. Sixty-two women from WSWA member companies across the country attended the leadership development and diversity-oriented event.


“Gathering with extraordinary colleagues in such a beautiful and historic setting to celebrate our accomplishments, and to network with the industry’s women leaders in wholesale is amazing, as we are sharing best practices with one another to further empower, educate and elevate our peers,” said Philana Bouvier, WLC Chair and Senior Vice President of Business Development for Young’s Market.


Interactive sessions exposed those in attendance to keynote speakers from various industries spanning from the United States Military to women leaders in the industry and experts in diversity and inclusion, all with a focus on building a foundation of essential leadership, management, career advancements skills, awareness and empowerment.


“Diversity in the workplace is good business, and through initiatives like WSWA’s Women’s Leadership Conference, we walk the talk, expanding knowledge and awareness in the wholesale tier. Educational sessions and networking with peers allows WLC attendees to develop leadership and management skills that ultimately contribute to the success and advancement of family-owned businesses,” said WSWA President and CEO Michelle Korsmo.


This year’s WLC Conference featured:


  • Operation Gratitude saying thank you to members of the military, First Responders, and their families by making 250 paracords, stuffing 120 bears, and writing 100 notes to heroes.


  • Informational session with Doug Bradburn, President of Mount Vernon, on the important role Martha Washington played in America’s first family (inception?).


  • Brigadier General Dr. Sharon Bannister, Command Surgeon, Headquarters Air Combat Command, United States Air Force shared inspiring personal stories from serving the country, building and leading unified teams, and the importance of servant leadership.


  • Nicole Austin, General Manager and Distiller, Cascade Hollow Distillery, shared her personal story of leadership development and the importance of forging your own career path.


  • Examining the future of the wholesale tier with Jo Moak, WSWA Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and Jake Hegeman, WSWA Assistant General Counsel and Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Affairs.


  • James Pogue, PhD engaged the group on bias and inclusion, and how to devise strategies for leadership that make a difference.


  • Alissa Carpenter M.Ed., Facilitator and Keynote Speaker; Principal Owner, “Everything’s Not OK and That’s Okay” and “Humanize Your Workforce” Podcasts shared best practices to breakdown communication barriers across generations. 


WLC attendees also used the conference to make connections with wholesalers, supplier and service provider peers—as well as current industry leaders, speakers, panelists and the WSWA staff and leadership team; and to enhance leadership skills and fine-tune technology and management abilities.


Event Sponsors include J.P. Morgan, Dimensional Insight, Beverage Media Group, SevenFifty, Inventiv, VIP (Vermont Information Processing), Hillebrand, Blue Ridge, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Great Vines, GoSpotCheck, GAP Promo, and Uber.


Click here to view photos from the event and click here for a full agenda of the WLC Conference.


WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesalers, distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 370 member companies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the U.S.