To the Tracy Women’s Forum Association, "change" is much more than an election buzzword.
Change is something that many women are feeling every day. That’s why the association decided its 11th annual Women’s Forum Conference on Friday would embrace the spirit of change.
"It’s a lot of work, but in the end it’s such a blessing to see the fruit of our labor," association board president Liz Baker said. "The current economic times have really forced us to change the way we do things. It just seemed really apparent that no one was understanding that we need to change with the times."
More than 150 people, including local vendors, made their way to the Tracy Community Center for the conference for food, fun and information.
"It’s a great form of networking and (a way) to meet other women in the community," said Nanette Brown, owner of Salon Secrets on Holly Drive. "It’s just everyday talk. Every year there’s someone different, and they bring a new perspective. It’s empowering women."
Dressed in green, Bridgett Luther, the director of the California Department of Conservation, delivered the keynote speech about how to make everyday changes to save energy.
She described the energy problems of California and the country and told how simple things like not using plastic bags, adjusting your thermostat and cutting long hair to save on blow-drying or time in the shower can go a long way toward helping the environment.
"We are really close to losing it all," Luther said. "The pressures are so great, because there’s so many of us."
Luther hopes Tracy can be inspired to lead the way in the Central Valley when it comes to renewable energy.
"You have to think about what community you want to leave to your kids," Luther said. "There’s a window closing on doing meaningful things. You don’t have to do everything, but you have to do something."
Other speakers dedicated to change included David Townsend, principal of eFor Computer Forensics, who spoke about how women can protect themselves from online crime. Russell A. Ballew, financial advisor for UBS Financial Services Inc., addressed the importance of planning and investing, especially given the uncertain economy.
"We looked at what was going to be topical, and we came to the conclusion that adjusting to the change around us really was where we should put the emphasis," said Evelyn Tolbert, the association’s founder. "That’s always been our theme, to inform and inspire. This year, we felt it necessary to inform."