If you are expecting to relax after a hectic day of speakers, events and activities at the 29th annual Central California Women’s Conference during what is being called a “cool down” talk by Kat Simmons, get ready to change your plans. The comedian/author/corporate speaker says her appearance will be just the opposite.
“I don’t know why they are calling me a cool-down speaker. They should be calling me the fire-them-up speaker,” Simmons says. “I plan to do anything but cool them down.”
If Simmons gets the crowd only half as fired up as she is about being part of the daylong event, then she will accomplish her goal of helping wrap up the day on a high note.
At the end of my days, I don’t want to look back and wonder what I might have done.
She’s part of the Women’s Conference, which runs from 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center. The goal of the event is to empower women. Reporter and TV host Lisa Ling will be the keynote speaker. Previous headliners have included Leeza Gibbons, Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis and Robin Roberts.
Along with Simmons, motivational speaker, humorist and researcher Pegine Echevarria is on the schedule.
Simmons has been trying to be part of the conference lineup for years. She’s been in front of a wide variety of audiences during her almost 30 years as a stand-up comedian and speaker but in recent years, she’s focused heavily on corporate speaking.
“I love them because I’m a people reader. The corporate events are an amalgamation of of all different kinds of people,” Simmons says. “It’s my job to put them all in the same frame of mind. There have been a few that were a little stuffy, but I like a challenge.
“I have spoken if front of a fair amount of women’s groups and it’s wonderful because I feel like I have the freedom to talk about stuff on stage with women that I might not elsewhere.”
Aging, mid-life dating on the agenda
Aging is a big topic. Simmons can’t understand why a wrinkle is not a big deal for a man but it is for a woman. Women earn their wrinkles maybe because they smiled at their babies, she says.
Mid-life dating is another popular topic for the divorced mother of three.
Simmons brings decades of experience to the stage as she’s known she wanted to be on stage since she was young. Her plan was to move to Los Angeles to join an acting repertory company but a dare from a friend got her on stage at a stand-up competition near her southern Nevada home. She didn’t win but since then everything has lined up for Simmons to develop a long career of making people laugh.
She has appeared with Tim Allen, Kevin Nealon, Kenny Rogers and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
In between speaking engagements, Simmons found time to write “Kat’s Daily Cups: A Collection of Stories about Children, Animals & Inspiration” (Single Feather Publishing, $15.99). Simmons is proud of the book but even prouder that her daughter Emma did all of the illustrations. The book will be on sale at the convention.
Doing comedy, becoming a corporate speaker and writing the book are all part of the positive philosophy on life that Simmons embraces. She was told by her father when she decided to move to Los Angeles to go after the comedy career that there would be a lot of rejection and negativity.
“I am not afraid of rejection. I am afraid of regret. At the end of my days, I don’t want to look back and wonder what I might have done,” Simmons says.
She now won’t have to regret missing out on a chance to speak at the Women’s Conference.
29th annual Central California Women’s Conference
A limited number of tickets for the conference remain. They are $120 and include a continental breakfast, all of the seminars, the celebrity keynote speaker luncheon and the afternoon reception. For more information, go to www.ccwc-fresno.org.