A summit for experienced and emerging leaders

February 19 – 21, 2020
Renaissance Nashville Hotel, Nashville, TN

“Success isn’t about the end result; it’s about what you learn along the way.”  –  Vera Wang

Come as colleagues and leave as friends. The goal of the summit is to strengthen the advancement of women and men through an interactive forum that provides education, networking and dialogue about important issues affecting women in business. The event will explore how women are contributing to the success of their organizations and the textile industry.

Registration will open October 2019

If you are interested in speaking, please send your session topic to Jill Newman at jmnewman@ifai.com.

*Click the to learn more


Schedule at a Glance

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020

Noon - 3 pm Registration Open
3:30 - 6:30 pm Offsite Group Tour & Activity
6:30 - 8:30 pm Welcome Reception

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020

7 - 9 am Registration Open
7 - 8 am Walk It, Talk It, Work It - A networking walk
8:30 - 9:30 am Breakfast
9:45 - 10:45 am

Mary-Cathryn Kolb, Founder & CEO of brrr°

Mary-Cathryn Kolb spent the first chapter of her career in the apparel industry, where she was the very first employee hired by TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie and had a front-row seat to the challenges of starting a company from scratch and building a global supply chain. She had stints at Seven7 Jeans and Von Dutch, and then spent a half dozen years as Director of Sales at SPANX, where she began to wonder about ways to make fabric more functional and cool. She left the corporate world in 2014 to start brrr°, which combines natural cooling minerals, active wicking and rapid drying technologies to create a “Triple Chill Effect” that instantly and continuously draws heat and moisture away from the skin. Retailers including Southern Tide, Jos. A. Bank and Mizzen+Main have embraced brrr° technology. Kolb will talk about how her early career prepared her for becoming an entrepreneur, and the importance of staying closely involved in R&D — even when it means waking up in the middle of the night for calls with the team in Taiwan. She will discuss how invaluable her professional network has been in opening doors with potential customers and investors, and how she pays it forward by mentoring the next generation of leaders. Kolb will also share some painful lessons from brrr°’s early years, such as her difficult-but-crucial decision to pivot away from fashion and refocus brrr° on its core mission of cooling fabric innovation.

11 am - Noon

Rachal McCarthy, President of NTI Global

Communicating in a firm, yet approachable manner, can be difficult for many women. We often spend additional, unnecessary energy attempting to ‘soften’ the conversation. Learn several key phrases and methods of expression which can be used to diffuse a situation, set a new tone, and provide clear boundaries.

Noon – 1:15 pm

Samantha Marion, Textile Development Manager for Top Value Fabrics & Laura Martin, Purchasing Manager for Top Value Fabrics

Do you ever fear you’ll be called out as a fraud despite your competence? Perhaps you find yourself wallowing in feelings of inadequacy? Samantha and Laura are hosting an interactive discussion about Imposter Syndrome, exploring tools to combat this albatross that can weigh down the success of talented women.

1:30 - 2:15 pm

Stephanie Rodgers, Director Advanced Product Development, Apex Mills

Explosive growth in the wearables sector has advance textiles on the forefront of something BIG. Women have embraced the technology opportunities of textiles and the science and engineering behind it. Many of the emerging functional fabrics are being developed by women empowered by cross-disciplinary approaches to manufacturing. I will highlight a few women from different backgrounds that have used textiles as a platform for science and innovation, highlighting e-textiles and how we can encourage this new market sector.

2:15 - 3:15 pm Roundtable Discussions
3:30 - 4:30 pm

Karen Hinds, Author; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Workplace Success Group

For more than 20 years, the executive retreats and leadership training Karen and her team have facilitated for their corporate clients saw few women with a seat at the table. When they were at the table, their presence often went unnoticed. From her personal wisdom as an author, business leader and gifted communicator, Karen uses data and proven strategies to demonstrate how women can own their power and develop their competitive edge. As a woman, how do you develop the grit to lead, the influence to impact change and the confidence to purse your goals? Too often, women struggle through their careers unsure of how to accelerate their growth. The presentation will cover how to:

  • Be intentional and strategic about your brand
  • Build strategic alliances
  • Position yourself for opportunities
  • Claim your voice
  • Embrace a no guilt approach to priority management
4:30 pm Closing Remarks for the Day
6 - 8 pm Reception/Dinner

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020

6:30 - 7:30 am Morning Yoga Session
8 - 9 am Breakfast
9 - 10 am Panel Discussion - The Next Generation: Attract, Mentor and Develop Future Leaders
10:15 - 11:15 am Closing Keynote
11:15 - 11:30 am Closing Remarks
11:30 am - Noon Grab & Go Snacks

*schedule subject to change


Your Summit Experience

Here’s your chance to join a gathering of female minds determined to play a part in our industry evolution. Here’s what you can expect:

Daily programming

Discover a new landscape through thought-leadership, panel discussions, skill building seminars, story-telling sessions and other surprises!

Workshops & activities

Stretch your skills by diving in to hot topics and participating in interactive problem solving.

Conversation spaces

Step into casual conversations, valuable networking and richer discussions designed to inspire creative ideas.

Meals and events

Enrich your experience and engage with a new network of female leaders during shared meals and lively receptions.