Science Cheerleader and SciStarter Founder, Darlene Cavalier, featured speaker at PA Conference for Women

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some of the region’s most powerful women will all be in the same room for one day [today] .

The 13th annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women returns to Philadelphia with a lineup of accomplished keynote speakers

The Conference will host 8,000 attendees for a full day of networking, inspiration and professional development at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“I think in general, the theme is about empowering women and inspiring them and helping them build communication skills and learn some leadership strategies and how to balance work life,” says Joanne Ryder — board member and Chief Administration Officer for Beneficial Bank.

Keynote speakers will include civil rights advocate Anita Hill, actress and bestselling author Mindy Kaling, as well as two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach and author and Wharton professor Adam Grant.

The conference will feature breakout sessions led by experts in the fields of business, Philanthropy, health, finance, and professional development.

With over a hundred sessions, Ryder says there is something for women in every stage of their career:

“So if you’re just starting out in your career we have a whole line-up for the millennial demographic. We have a lineup for women who are just getting back into the workforce, they may have been a stay at home mom for a number of years and now they’re looking to get back into the workforce so we have sessions specially targeted to them. We have sessions for people who are experienced and looking to continually develop their knowledge and personal and professional growth.”

This year’s conference also features several local speakers including authors Laura Vanderkam and Paige Wolfe; online media personality and social media consultant Kristen Chase and founder of Science Cheerleader and SciStarter Darlene Cavalier.

“I hope it empowers women to believe they can do and to be anything they want to be,” Ryder says. “I think that giving the tools and resources to women and having that knowledge and really inspiring them to take a chance and be courageous and follow your passion personally or professionally.”

[Editor’s note. Check out this sweet follow up note from one of the youth audience members:  “Dear Darlene, My name is Jaynie (i’m a cheerleader) and I met you today at the conference. I just wanted to thank you for encouraging me to follow my heart and do what I love. You gave me the confidence to continue my love for math and science and now I know that I’m not the only one struggling with overcoming stereotypes.”]