JACKSON — Native Mississippian Alyce C. Alston, vice president and publisher of W magazine, formerly of O, the Oprah magazine, will be the keynote speaker at the Mississippi Women’s Conference 2001 this week, hosted by Mississippi’s First Lady Melanie Musgrove.
The sixth annual conference will be held Wednesday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jackson.
“The goal of this conference is to educate, enlighten and enhance women,” said Melanie Musgrove. “The Mississippi Women’s Conference was created and continues its mission to address issues that affect women professionally, economically, socially and domestically.”
The title of the conference, “The Power of One,” an ongoing theme for the conference series, reflects the philosophy “that any one person can make a difference,” said Emily Myers, spokesperson for the First Lady’s Office. “It just takes one person to light the fire for a whole group to get something accomplished. It just takes one person to have an idea or vision and things can grow from there.”
The women’s conference will feature various workshops, from addressing relaxation and self-improvement issues, such as “Healing and Harmony through Aromatherapy” by Dee A. Meux and “Color for Spring 2001 — Makeup and Fashion for A New You” by Amy Head, makeup artist and image consultant, to more serious topics, such as “Business Etiquette for the New Millennium” by Jacqueline Deeds, Ph.D., and “Critical Decisions on Legal and Fiscal Security” by attorney Amy D. Whitten.
“A very important factor of this conference is the diversity of the workshops,” Musgrove said. “It was vital to the steering committee that the conference offered something for everyone. Equally important is our annual ‘Power of One’ honoree presentation ceremony in which we recognize women from across the state who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Each year, we honor different women from all walks of life who have demonstrated extraordinary service to their families, communities or state.”
Sherri Bailey, chairperson for the conference, said more business speakers have been added as the years have progressed.
“The women who attend display such a variety of interests,” Bailey said. “We noticed a lot more interest in business topics and money management and retirement issues so we increased those types of workshops to address those issues.”
Keynote speaker Alston, a graduate of Murrah High School in Jackson, made news last year when she launched O, an inspirational self-help publication for women to help them lead their best lives. Even though she left after just one issue, it was the most successful magazine launch in history. After only eight issues, advertisers were guaranteed a circulation of 1.3 million, a figure expected to go up to 1.6 million this spring. In its first six issues, O had 905 ad pages, with revenues of $50.9 million. After only two issues, the magazine went monthly, and more than 2.5 million people buy it every month. About 300,000 subscriptions were given as holiday gifts.
In the January issue of Forbes magazine, Alston said that she left O for various reasons.
“I have two babies and my husband is starting his own business, and I feel your time away from home has to be time that’s loved and that you really enjoy,” she said. “Not that I didn’t love being publisher of O, but I had an opportunity to work with Mary (Berner, Fairchild president), who I respect so much and love being with. I feel like I did the Oprah magazine, I was there a year, and I launched it. That was one of the most exciting parts and I will always cherish that. I wish it would have been six months later that this opportunity came along. The timing wasn’t perfect, but I couldn’t pass it up.”
At press time, Alston had not indicated what her presentation would cover.
Musgrove said she’s “proud to have dedicated and insightful women from every region of Mississippi” represented at the conference.
“I certainly look forward to continuing this phenomenal conference next year,” she said.
The pre-registration fee for the conference is $35 on a first-come, first-served basis. The on-site registration fee is $40. Seating is limited; trolley transportation will be available from the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Limited parking is also available at the conference site. For more information, contact (601) 359-3175.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at email@example.com or (601) 853-3967.