From the January 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

With so many national business conferences to choose from, you might be tempted to skip women-specific conferences. But you'd be making a mistake.

Michelle J. Boggs, 45, president and CEO of Alexandria, Virginia-based McKinley Marketing Partners Inc. , attended last year's Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) conference with business partner Marcia A. Call, 47, to meet prospective and current clients. "If you're a passive participant, you'll get very little return," she says. "But if you're committed to really 'working' a conference, you'll get a lot out of it."

Annette Taddeo, 37, president and CEO of LanguageSpeak , a Miami-based company providing translation, interpretation and cultural training, has attended Office Depot's Success Strategies for Businesswomen Conference since it debuted in 2001. "I was intrigued by the large number of female organizations participating, both locally and nationally," Taddeo explains. "I thought it would be a good networking opportunity." Indeed, Taddeo has formed several business relationships there.

Following are some of the largest conferences held for women. For current information, check their websites often.

FEBRUARY

Activities: seminars and panel discussions, expo, networking, matchmaker meetings with corporate executives, awards luncheon and dinner, silent auction, bookstore

APRIL

  • Professional BusinessWomen of California; San Francisco; www.pbwc.org

Activities: speakers, luncheon, seminars, networking, exhibits, bookstore

Activities: speakers, workshops, book signings, networking

  • Women's Leadership Exchange; Dallas (additional events: Chicago, May; Long Beach, California,
    August; Atlanta, September; New York City, November); www.womensleadershipexchange.com

Activities: speakers, workshops, book signings, networking, panel discussions, cocktail reception

MAY

Activities: keynote breakfast, lunch, dinner and reception; expo; sessions

JUNE

  • WBENC's 6th Annual National Conference and Business Fair; Las Vegas; www.wbenc.org

Activities: workshops, reception, business fair, MatchMaker meetings, networking events

  • National Association of Women Business Owners Women's Business Conference; Orlando, Florida; www.nawbo.org

Activities: educational sessions, specialized track, leadership training, receptions, luncheons, bookstore, expo

JULY

Activities: speakers, seminars, expo, networking

SEPTEMBER

  • Women's Business Development Center's Enterpreneurial Woman's Conference and Women's Business & Buyers Mart; Chicago; www.wbdc.org/conf/conf.asp

Activities: expo, awards and luncheon, panel discussions and round tables, networking receptions

OCTOBER

Activities: speakers, exhibitors, networking