How a One-Day Conference in Southeast Texas Informs and Empowers Women
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make approximately 80 percent of the health care decisions for their families and are more likely than men to be caregivers to family members. Recognizing the key role that so many women play in health care gained attention long ago in the CHRISTUS South East Texas region.
A group of women in the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Marketing Department and their committee of health care professionals and volunteers work tirelessly to build strong personal relationships with women from all over the area. One of the biggest ways they do this is by hosting a premier forum called the CHRISTUS LiveWell Women’s Conference. It takes place every year in May and takes more than a year to plan. The last few years it has been held at Beaumont’s Ford Center where approximately 2,000 women attend to make an essential investment in themselves.
The event has become so popular that women line up outside the Ford Center early the morning of the event waiting for the doors to open. The conference includes free health screenings, an elaborate shopping area, presentations by key physicians and wellness seminars. The conference also features amazing celebrity speakers. This year, actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis was the keynote speaker. The A-list star wasn’t easy to get. Becky Howard tried three times before she could get Jamie Lee to commit. Becky is the event coordinator for the CHRISTUS LiveWell Women’s Conference and was publicly praised by Jamie Lee for being instrumental in helping Texas women do what Jamie Lee told the stadium full of women is so essential, “Live wisely and love well.”
“It was the first time a speaker gave ‘shout outs’ to us during their keynote, that was pretty awesome,” explained Becky. “Our team had [a great] time with her the evening before and I was very impressed and flattered how connected she got with everyone. Even the next day, she remembered names and little tidbits about each one that she had spoken to.”
A talented group of women (Shelly Vitanza, Heather Boler, Tammy Price, Meghan Vital and Ann Trevino) played the part of reporters for a closed-circuit TV show that played throughout the day called LiveWell TV. They interviewed conference participants who joyfully detailed what they thought of the conference. The spots were broadcasted on a 14-foot television screen, as well as eight screens throughout the event center.
Many of the participants stayed until the end of the day to craft with Amie and Jolie Sikes, known as the Junk Gypsies. The celebrity Texas sisters have built a reputation for unique decorating and crafting abilities.
“There are a lot of arms and legs to this event, it’s really multiple events into one,” Becky explained. “We don’t use an event organization to put this on. We have a relatively small but dedicated committee that with the exception of just a few, is made up of CHRISTUS Associates who volunteer their time year round to make this event happen.”
At CHRISTUS Southeast Texas, through fellowship, creativity, understanding what’s important to women and by leveraging the insights of area physicians and medical experts, they are enabling women to experience a great sisterhood and arming them with valuable health information that has become the ever growing CHRISTUS LiveWell Women’s Conference.
Now stay tuned for details on next year’s conference!
And, if you are still on the fence about attending, how about this review from one conference attendee?
“Yesterday I had 1 of the best times in my life…I was alone…I was not out to impress anyone…I was not out seeking attention…I was not out gossiping…I was not out competing…I was not working….I was amongst hundreds of strangers….I was very confident and comfortable amongst these strangers which is hard for me since I am such a private person and loner…my goals for this day was strictly self-contained. I was out for self help, self knowledge and self acceptance…I attended the CHRISTUS Health Women’s Conference at Ford park and loved it…I achieved my goals for that day…I attended worships and had a great lunch and listened to one of my favorite actresses, Jamie Lee Curtis…yesterday she was not an actress, she was a woman, just like all of us in the audience, and she delivered a powerful speech on being a woman…ending this to say “as a woman, sometimes we forget our self worth to ourselves because we are giving it to everyone else….I was in an abusive marriage for 20 years….mentally and physically…those words said and those things he done to me will live inside me forever but I refuse to let it be the determining factor of my future…..I just want to say to each sister that took the time to read this…you are awesome and don’t let no other discourage the wonderful beautiful person you are.”