Mission & History

The conference provides an exciting and fun atmosphere where women come together to learn and network.

The mission of the Central California Women’s Conference is to empower and transform women in all stages of their lives.

CCWC is a one-day conference serving women of all generations, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The forum educates and facilitates idea-sharing about how to succeed personally and professionally in life while juggling the increasingly complex and diverse demands of family and community.

CCWC also serves women who are struggling, as it has donated more than $1,450,000 to women’s and children’s community benefit organizations.

The CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WOMEN’S CONFERENCE was founded in 1988 by the late State Senator Ken L. Maddy of Fresno.

The conference is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-political organization for women of all ages and ethnicities (Tax I.D. #77-0178140). The mission of the conference is to educate, motivate and inspire women to excel in their professional and personal lives.

This premier conference for women’s topics is a day-long forum. The event includes a warm-up speaker, luncheon keynote speaker, 21 breakout sessions, a tradeshow with more than 175 vendors and a cool-down speaker and reception. The sessions address issues relevant to women and are conducted by national, regional and local experts. Now in its 35th year, CCWC is the largest gathering of women in Central California, drawing crowds of 3,500+ women. It is one of the largest women’s conferences in California.

For women who are struggling, CCWC has donated more than $1,450,000 to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that support women and children. These nonprofits provide resources to Central Valley residents through services such as emergency and homeless shelters; domestic violence and sexual assault assistance, treatment and prevention; and parenting classes and family counseling. For a list of current and past grant recipients, please click here.

CCWC is a forum for women of all generations and backgrounds to share practical ideas about how to succeed while juggling increasingly complex and diverse life demands. The conference provides an exciting and fun atmosphere where women come together to learn and network.

Since 1988 more than 100,000 women have attended the Central California Women’s Conference.

The Event

There are three general sessions with keynote speakers and 21 professional breakout sessions with information pertaining to a full range of issues affecting women – in the workplace, at home, and in the community.


A trade show with more than 175 exhibit booths provides food samples, boutique shopping and information about the benefits of products and local businesses.

Past Keynote Speakers

Previous luncheon Keynote Speakers have included former Governor of Texas Ann Richards, former first lady of Egypt Jehan Sadat, surgeon and medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman, news anchor and journalist Paula Zahn, ABC news correspondent Lynn Sherr, best-selling author and lecturer Deepak Chopra, financial expert and author Suze Orman, actress and singer Vicki Lawrence, Broadway star Rita Moreno, Olympic Gold Medalist Wilma Rudolph, 20th Century Fox President Sherry Lansing, actress and entertainer Debbie Reynolds, author Gail Sheehy, actress and breast cancer survivor Marcia Wallace, and Olympic Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming. In 2001, Cokie Roberts was booked, but because of September 11th, she was not able to travel and was replaced by international news correspondent and journalist, Bettina Gregory. Other Keynote Speakers were Erin Brockovich, Star Jones, Joan Lunden and Nancy Brinker, founder of The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation! For our 20th anniversary we brought to Fresno one of the screen’s most beloved actresses…Goldie Hawn, and in 2008 with the focus on the economy, Suze Orman returned as the keynote speaker! The 2007 and 2008 conferences sold out a month in advance.

In 2009, with our theme “Reinvest in You” CCWC brought Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America to Fresno to speak to CCWC’s sold-out crowd of more than 3,500! In 2010, CCWC brought international entertainment icon Marie Osmond to what many called the “best conference in the 23-year history.”

Oscar winner and women’s activist Geena Davis graced the stage in 2011 with her message of THELMA and LOUISE, 20 YEARS LATER, which was a huge success.

Award-winning actress, best-selling children’s author and activist, Jamie Lee Curtis, was the 2012 keynote speaker as CCWC celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

2013 brought the largest audience and fastest sellout in conference history with award-winning actress, writer, director and producer Helen Hunt. Starting her career in a male-dominated industry at age 9, Hunt knows what it takes to Live Your Passion. She is a trailblazer and inspiration for women in all industries.

2014 brought beloved actress, spokesperson and best selling author Valerie Bertinelli to the stage for the 27th annual event. America watched Valerie grow up on the 80’s television hit comedy, One Day at a Time. Since then, Valerie went on to star in Touched by an Angel and is currently starring in Hot in Cleveland. Her New York Times best-selling book, “Losing It,” inspired millions of people to try to become their best and healthiest selves as she honestly shared her journey to become healthy. She has written several other best sellers and recently launched a cookbook.

In 2015 we were honored to bring pop-culture icon Leeza Gibbons to CCWC as our celebrity keynote speaker. Leeza is an Emmy award-winner and NY Times best-selling author.

In 2016, the fabulous Lisa Ling shared her stories with us as our celebrity keynote speaker. Ling is an Emmy-award winning broadcaster, international correspondent, and TV host.

In 2017, CCWC welcomed the amazing Paralympic snowboarder and best-selling author Amy Purdy to the luncheon stage, and in 2018, the iconic and award-winning Maria Shriver spent lunch inspiring us during a conversation with ABC30 Anchor Graciela Moreno.

In 2019, our attendees and Keynote Speaker were nothing but FIERCE when Tyra Banks turned our lunch hall into her runway and taught us how to feel empowered by our smize!

Dr. Jennifer Ashton welcomed the CCWC attendees back in 2022 when she discussed life, love, and everything in between with ABC30 Anchor Graciela Moreno.

CCWC had a blockbuster year in 2023 when Brooke Shields sat down for a candid and HILARIOUS conversation with ABC30’s Margot Kim!

To celebrate our 35th anniversary, CCWC will have Emmy Award Winning Actress and Activist – Sheryl Lee Ralph.

CCWC attendees are composed of women in every professional and personal situation.

Central California Women’s Conference (CCWC) Quick Facts

Since 1988, more than 100,000 women from the Valley and all over California have attended the conference. Conference sells out consistently serving a capacity of 3,500 attendees.

Donates to 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-political organizations that serve women and children. To date $1,450,000+ has been donated.
90% of last year’s participants said they will attend next year’s conference* 64.7% of the participants of last year’s conference were repeat participants*

*Stats from survey CCWC 2023 attendees.

The People CCWC Serves… 99% of the attendees are women

The majority of CCWC attendees come from Fresno and surrounding cities, but some attendees travel from outlying cities such as Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The psychographics of CCWC attendees are composed of women in every professional and personal situation. Many attendees come because they seek to improve their lives personally and financially. Other attendees have already attained professional and personal success. The common thread of CCWC is that regardless of the personal, financial, or professional status of the women – they all want to improve to live their most empowered lives.