Female astronauts, athletes inspire next generation at Rosemont convention

ROSEMONT, Ill. (WLS) -- A convention in Rosemont aimed to inspire the next generation of female leaders by putting them face-to-face with successful women in industries from sports to aeronautics.

Empowering Girls for Life hosted its second annual gathering in the northern suburb on Saturday. The nonprofit's convention is designed to uplift and encourage girls ages 7 to 17.

The all-day event featured 10 female speakers, including two-time Olympians such as softball player Natasha Watley.

"I mean at one point this was us and so being able to come empower the next generation, I like 100% love opportunities like this," Watley said.

Many of the speakers shared their stories on what it meant to break out of their shell and find their own voice.

"I think for young girls, it's so important for them to hear stories, to hear experiences because they're going down that same path that we once went down," Watley said.

Bill Conroy, the nonprofit's founder and CEO, hopes that having athletes and other leaders, including the youngest female astronaut, speak to young women shares a message that they'll remember throughout their lives.

"The Empowering Girls Conference is just about basically infusing the next generation with skills and things that we wish we had back then," said Jennie Finch, a two-time Olympian softball player.

For those who couldn't attend the event, organizers plan to host another one next year. It's free for all to attend.
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