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Saint Mary’s hosts Key4Women forum

Lucie Gordon | Thursday, September 16, 2010

Keybank’s Key4Women Forum, a seminar designed to educate and empower businesswomen, will be held today at Saint Mary’s College.

Cindy Solomon, a nationally renowned speaker and the president of Solomon and Associates, will deliver the keynote address.  Solomon has consulted organizations including Google, Cisco and the Ritz Carlton.  

“It really is a great seminar,” said Martha Smith, project director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) at Saint Mary’s. WEI partnered with Keybank to bring the seminar to campus.  

Smith said the program shares a lot of the same goals and values as WEI, and the partnership “seemed like a natural fit.”

Key4Women, founded in 2005, lends money to qualified women entrepreneurs so they can start and maintain successful businesses. It also strives to offer advice to help businesswomen set their companies apart from the crowd.  

This particular forum will travel across the nation and stop in 15 different cities.

Solomon’s talk, “The Customer of the Future: The Art of Creating True Customer and Employee Loyalty,” will give women suggestions on how to conduct their businesses, based on her own success as an entrepreneur.

She will particularly emphasize the importance of establishing long-term relationships with both employees and customers. The event will also give local business owners a chance to meet and network with other business owners in the area.

The forum costs $10 and will benefit the Kelly Cares Foundation, an organization established by Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and his wife, Paqui, that supports several organizations, but promotes breast cancer awareness in particular.

“I think it’s pretty neat what they’re doing for Kelly’s foundation,” Smith said.

Although today’s forum will primarily include local entrepreneurs, Smith hopes the forum will return next year and involve Saint Mary’s students.

The forum will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn on the Saint Mary’s campus.