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Leeza Gibbons signs on as women’s conference keynote speaker

Leeza Gibbons has been signed as the keynote speaker at this year’s Central California Women’s Conference, which is Sept. 22 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.
Leeza Gibbons has been signed as the keynote speaker at this year’s Central California Women’s Conference, which is Sept. 22 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.

Organizers of the 2015 Central California Women’s Conference are hoping the third time is the charm. Emmy award-winning entertainment/news broadcaster, social advocate and best-selling author Leeza Gibbons, has been signed to be this year’s keynote speaker.

Previously announced keynote speakers — actress Viola Davis and host/reporter Erin Andrews — pulled out of the Sept. 22 event because of conflicts with production schedules.

“Fresno, I’m so excited to meet you at this extraordinary gathering of women in the Central Valley,” says Gibbons in a news release to announce her appearance.

Gibbons has been working in TV for more than three decades, including as a co-anchor on “Entertainment Tonight” and as the host of her own daytime talk show from 1994-2000. She’s also an accomplished author with the her New York Times Bestseller, “Take 2.” It’s a personal growth guide to help people recreate themselves and hit the reset button on their lives.

Jan Edwards, director of development and marketing for CCWC, is excited about landing Gibbons because of all her advocacy work. Gibbons has become one of the leading voices for issues facing family caregivers.

Gibbons launched Leeza’s Care Connection, a foundation that provides free services for family caregivers, after the problems she dealt with while her mother and grandmother battled with Alzheimer’s disease. On the latest round of “Celebrity Apprentice,” Gibbons raised more than $700,000 for the foundation.

This is the third time the local organization had to search for a speaker for the event, which is an all-day conference Sept. 22 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.

Davis, the star of ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder,” originally was scheduled as the speaker but had to cancel because of production conflicts. Then Andrews bowed out because of her work on “Dancing With the Stars.”

All contracts have an out clause for the celebrity without penalty if the conference is notified more than 30 days before the event. There have only been four times since the conference was founded in 1988 that the out clause has been used – twice this year, in 2001 by Cokie Roberts and in 2011 by Diane Keaton.

The Women’s Conference aims to empower women. It has donated $650,000 to local women’s and children’s community benefit organizations. The theme of this year’s event is “Ignite Your Body and Spirit.”

A very limited number of tickets are available. The $110 ticket includes continental breakfast, all of the seminars, the celebrity keynote speaker luncheon and the afternoon reception.

The Valley really loves this conference and they take pride and ownership of it.

CCWC Board President Nené Casares

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

Central California Women’s Conference

  • Sept. 22
  • Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center
  • $110
  • www.ccwc-fresno.org or call (559) 265-6888.
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