Institute for Women’s Leadership CEO to keynote Tahoe conference |

Institute for Women’s Leadership CEO to keynote Tahoe conference

Staff report
Reno City Council candidate Elisa Cafferata will present how female politicians can create change at this year’s "Women As Change Makers" conference Oct. 3 at the North Tahoe Event Center.
Courtesy photo |

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Tahoe-based women’s empowerment organization Zawadisha recently announced Lean In partner Rayona Sharpnack will be the keynote speaker at “Women as Change Makers: Leading and Thriving in the 21st Century.”

Drawing from successful careers in education, professional sports and business, Sharpnack is an inspirational teacher, coach and mentor to leading executives.

Sharpnack, CEO of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, has facilitated women’s leadership trainings for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Charles Schwab and Hewlett Packard.

She has also presented her trademarked approach at Harvard University, Stanford University School of Business and the University of California at Berkeley’s Hass School of Business.

Her book, “Trade Up: 5 Steps for Redesigning Your Leadership & Life from the Inside Out,” has gleaned national and international success.

She also contributed to “Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change,” which also counts Michelle Obama, Suze Orman and Oprah Winfrey among its authors.

“Women as Change Makers will bring together some of the most passionate, driven and successful women in the Reno/Tahoe/Truckee area,” said Sharpnack, a Reno native. “It will create opportunities and provide resources for women to develop a deeper understanding of how to create breakthrough change with our money, time, and talent.”


Elisa Cafferata is a fourth-generation Nevadan and unrepentant night owl. She has experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors off and on-line.

She is currently president and CEO of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the education, policy and election arm of Planned Parenthood in Nevada.

She’s running for Reno City Council Ward 2, and admits being on the high school debate team qualified her for geek status decades ago.

She now uses Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up with her four kids (ages 15 to 26).

Cafferata will present, “The Personal is Political: How Female Politicians Make Change Discussion.”


Patty Baird, who owns and operates The Cedar House Sport Hotel and Tahoe Trips & Trails with her husband, Jeff, is living her passions.

Both Bairds care deeply about spending time in nature, fostering meaningful connections to the outdoors and living with a smaller footprint.

Concerned about society’s rising consumption rates and separation from the natural world, they transitioned from building large Sierra Foothill homes to designing and running the eco-boutique Cedar House.

Patty will present “Turning Your Dreams Into Reality: Real Life Strategies from Change Makers.”

“Women as Change Makers: Leading and Thriving in the 21st Century,” will take place Friday, Oct. 3, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach and feature regional women entrepreneurs as facilitators and speakers.

Topics will also include “Developing Transformational Leadership: Strategies To Enrich the Personal and Professional,” and “Creating Balance Through Health and Wellness.”

Tickets can be purchased at


Zawadisha is a Lake Tahoe based nonprofit social enterprise whose mission is to empower, entrust and expand women’s opportunities through micro-lending and business and leadership training.

Zawadisha was created in collaboration with women in Kenya, visioning financial and physical health of women, families, community and the environment through fair business micro-loans and high-impact products such as solar lamps, rainwater harvesting tanks and clean cook stoves.

Learn more at

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community.