CRESTVIEW HILLS, Kentucky (March 14, 2022) – Thomas More University kicked off Women’s History Month with the inaugural Women’s Conference presented by DBL Law. On Friday, March 4, 2022, women were invited to campus to inspire, encourage and explore their passions at the conference. The first-ever women’s conference follows the University’s 100th anniversary celebration, commemorating when the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, founded Villa Madonna College in 1921 to train Catholic teachers and provide a college education for women.

Guest speakers led empowerment sessions, including Cincinnati news anchor, journalist and social media host Kathrine Nero, who gave the keynote address. Nero’s keynote address was impactful and set the tone for the event. Participant Heather Abbott, Deputy Director of the Dr. Anthony R. and Geraldine Institute for Academic Excellence at Thomas More, said, “Kathrine was wonderful and started the day perfectly with lots of energy and positivity. The rest of the day went well and kept that positive energy going. It was a really cool inaugural event! Additional sessions were moderated by: Becca Gardner, Founder and CEO of ALT Distilling, Angela Rivers-Harper, Ph.D., Director of the Dress for Success Program, Latorria Myles, Assistant Dean of Students at Thomas More, Heather Ackels’ ’07, executive director of INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati, and Jenni Crowley ’03, Ph.D., senior executive of Deloitte.

The first-ever Alice S. Sparks Women’s Leadership Scholarship, to benefit a Thomas More student, was awarded at the event. Sophomore Sophia Victoria Hermosilla Torres, an international student from Panama City, Panama and majoring in International Studies, won the honor. The Panama City native recognized her mother as an important female role model in her life, saying “she is the living example that having a successful life does not come with name recognition, but with love, happiness and the work you do for those you care about. Torres sees the importance of helping her community, working with the non-profit Parlamericas in Panama, and she aspires to one day be an ambassador or work for a non-governmental organization (NGO).

The afternoon session of the conference featured “Boss Lady: A Panel of High-Powered Leaders,” moderated by Laura Koehl ’80, Ed.D., Executive Director of the National Office of Sisterhood and Networking of Notre Dame in the United States. The panel included powerful businesswomen including Moira Weir ’00, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Rachael Sampson ’20, Senior Vice President of KeyBank and National Director of Key4Women, Priya Dhingra Klocek, president and CEO of Consultant on the Go, and Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy in Ohio and Kentucky. Panelists introduced themselves and their careers and explored how they came to realize they were a ‘leader’. “Identify your aspirations; pursue your aspirations,” Spiller encouraged the crowd. “Leaders aren’t just at the top of the organizational chart.”

Participants gained valuable insights from these prominent women in the community, while learning to celebrate their accomplishments and set goals for their future. “I came away inspired by new ways to find inner peace and new ways to help me achieve the goals I have in my personal and professional life,” said Debby Shipp, director of partnership development at Thomas More. “The venue was beautifully appointed, the food was good, and the networking exceptional.” The date for the 2023 Thomas More Women’s Conference will be announced shortly. We hope to see you there.

For more information about Thomas More University, visit www.thomasmore.edu.


About Thomas More University

For 100 years, Thomas More has created a university for the student who wants to be more, do more, seek more, earn more, achieve more and create more. Since its founding in 1921, Thomas More has provided a mission-oriented liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Students learn to harness the power of human reason to solve problems and uncover truth, allowing them to begin the journey to becoming the person they were created to be. Entering the second century, it’s time for More. Serving over 2,000 students, Thomas More aspires to be the first Catholic university in the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area, building on the #1 ranking for long-term gain in Kentucky (2019 Georgetown study) and to share with this generation the transformative power of the Thomas More experience. To learn more, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyna Kelley, Director of Communications and Public Relations, [email protected], 859.344.3309