Juneau's women should be healthy, wealthy, happy and wise

Fourth annual Alaska Women's Expo is April 6 at Centennial Hall, with free admission, hourly door prizes
Jo Packham

Being a woman is many things. Women are mothers, daughters and sisters, but also savvy business owners, talented artists, tough athletes and so much more. The fourth annual Alaska Women’s Expo seeks to reach out to the woman in all her roles with presentations, classes, entertainment and an array of vendors.


The Expo will also feature keynote speaker Jo Packham, president of Chapelle Ltd and WWX press, creator and editor-in-chief of Where Women Create, Where Women Cook and Where Women Create Business, as well as creator of Create-ologie and co-founder of the Creative Connection Event. Packham will share personal stories and the stories of other women in business to inspire, educate and celebrate women’s strength and roles in the community. Originally from Ogden, Utah, Packham attended the University of California Sacramento and has won awards, owned numerous businesses, written books and traveled around the country teaching and consulting.

“I just shot her an email, I didn’t even expect to get her, I wrote “Any chance we can get Jo Packham to come up in two months?” — it was only two months away — and she, herself, replied and said, “I’d love to.”” Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation Executive Director Jetta Whittaker said, “And my next email said, “Well, we can’t afford to pay you anything, just to cover your expenses,” and she wrote back, “I’ll do it for free just because I want to come to Alaska...”

Packham is very supportive of non-profits and strong women, so it was a natural fit.

Starting with a bang at 10 a.m., the Yees Ku Oo dancers will perform in the ballroom, where all the vendors are set up and where speakers can be heard. Every half hour until around noon, door prizes will be announced and there will be performances by the Juneau-Douglas High School dance team, the Juneau Roller Girls and Daughters of the New Moon dancers.

“We’re trying to feature women.” Whittaker said.

The first featured speaker, Abby Laforce Roha, owner of Abby’s Kitchen, will be introduced by her mother, Nerissa Beaver, at 12:15 p.m. — lunchtime. Lunch by Abby’s Kitchen will be available for purchase — attendees can snack on a scone, sweetly treat themselves to a cupcake or enjoy mango-ginger chicken skewers, Vietnamese rice noodle salad or coconut vegetable rice pilaf, separately or as a full meal.

“(Abby Roha) is probably not even 30 yet... and she just passed that five-year mark where a lot of businesses fail.” Whittaker said, Abby’s Kitchen was recently recognized by Sen. Mark Begich for the catering company’s fifth anniversary.

Keynote Packham will be presenting at 1 p.m., sandwiched between performances by local singer Taylor Vidic, who recently performed at 2012’s Who’s Your Diva event.

Sharon Gaiptman will MC a fashion show featuring apparel and shoes from Lisa Davidson’s Boutique, Nugget Alaskan Outfitter and Shoefly. The Expo will end on an energetic note, with a free Zumba demonstration at 2:45.

Whittaker said she’s tried Zumba and it’s harder than it looks, but fun. “We can all go out laughing,” she said.

Next door, in the Hammond room, some local women present a selection of classes. At 10:15, Tamra Green of Miss Scarlett’s Greenery will share some of her knowledge — the resulting arrangements will be some of the door prizes, Whittaker said. Cori Stennett of Planned Parenthood can answer the question with parents and teens, “What’s up with sexting?” at 10:45 a.m. — it will explore the legal and personal implications, Alaska law and individual cases. Stacy Goade with Alaska Premier Home Staging will offer tips and tricks in home staging for would-be home-sellers. Jumping forward to 3:15, University of Alaska Southeast School of Management’s Heidi Connole will present on women’s ways of leading that may be different from the ways men lead.

For those women who happen to be mothers, Girl Scouts troops 4019 and 4004 will be offering childcare for potty-trained kids. Sign up for two-hour windows and, though the girls are volunteering, any tips they collect will go toward future travel. No diapers will be changed and no snacks will be provided. The girls have taken the Safe Sitter class.

There will also be a silent auction with many appealing items, Whittaker said, and an art show. The art show will consist of pieces by local artists, which may be chosen to line the halls of Bartlett Beginnings, the maternity wing of the hospital. Rumor has it, Bartlett Beginnings is still seeking art for juried selection.

Whittaker said she is looking forward to a good turnout this year and hopes the speakers, entertainers, vendors and door prizes will inspire women from start to finish and into the future.

The Alaska Women’s Expo is a project of Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation, with support from Bartlett Regional Hospital, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Coeur Alaska and Raintree Quilting. For more information, contact Whittaker at 463-5704, visit brhfoundation.org or email brhfound@gci.net. The Foundation exists to support the hospital. The foundation manages grants and donations, and provides for a large gift most years. In recent years, the Foundation has profided a replacement incubator, a new bariatric bed, ICU monitoring equipment and much more.

There are two other opportunities to check out Jo Packham in Juneau, including a meet-and-greet with Raintree Quilting Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. Information is available by emailing sew@raintreequilting.com. Packham will also do a book signing of her most recent book, Pie-ography: Where Pie Meets Biography at Costco Friday from 5-7 p.m.


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