Chatham University

Women’s Leadership

GNC executive Beth Kaplan to headline Fifth Annual Think Big forum

Beth Kaplan

Kaplan, President and Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer of Pittsburgh-based GNC Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Think Big Forum on Friday, October 22 at Chatham University's Shadyside Campus. Presented by the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship (CWE) at Chatham University, Think Big features panel discussions with prominent women business executives and entrepreneurs who discuss the strategies that enabled their companies to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Individual tickets are still available for $45 per person or tables of ten for $450. Online registration is available here. Registration is also available by calling 412-365-1253 or emailing

"We are excited to have Beth Kaplan as our keynote speaker because of the tremendous growth that GNC has experienced over the past year through its innovative business strategies and its recent announcement to make an initial public stock offering," noted Rebecca Harris, CWE director. "Her marketing and sales acumen has helped to position GNC as leader in the industry and so we are looking forward to gain Beth's insight on the impact of innovation on sales."

The event begins with a networking breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by Ms. Kaplan's presentation. The first panel discussion, "Innovation and Entrepreneurship", features Amy Hancock, President and Owner of AdvantageCare Rehabilitation, Advantage Home Health Services, and AdvantageCare Consulting; and Danielle Proctor, President and CEO of Amelie Construction & Supply LLC, CEO and Owner and Founder of Core Pilates & Yoga, and General Manager of Fetch! Pet Care of North Pittsburgh. This panel will discuss specific strategies that these women used to grow their companies from ideas to multi-million dollar ventures, and how they continue to grow and use innovative strategies to stay competitive in today's marketplace. Moderating the panel will be Nancy Polinsky Johnson, Publisher and Editor of SHADY AVE magazine.

The second panel discussion will address “Innovation & Media” and features Diana Block, Board of Directors, Former President and Co-Publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Deborah L. Acklin, President and CEO-elect of WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh. This dynamic panel will address innovative strategies required by the media industry to maintain their competitiveness. Moderating the panel will be Lauren Lawley Head, Editor of the Pittsburgh Business Times.


Sponsors for the 2010 Think Big Forum include:

Keynote Sponsor: UPMC Health Plan

Contributing Sponsors:
Enterprise Bank
Hurley Associates
Women,s Business Enterprise Council – WBEC

Media Sponsors:
DUQ 90.5 FM
Pittsburgh Business Times

Tote Bag Donor: First Commonwealth


About Think Big

The mission of CWE's Think Big Forum is to inspire women in business to think outside box and hear from women business leaders who are succeed at changing the way women think and do business. Innovation and risk-taking are encouraged by some of the Pittsburgh region's most successful women executives and entrepreneurs in both the for- and non-profit sectors.

Attendees from the Think Big Forums held over last four years have hailed from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Over 60 percent of past attendees are women business owners who predominately represent service sectors (architecture, marketing, public relations, human resources, healthcare and therapy, legal and financial services, communications, training, commercial cleaning, etc.) and are the presidents and/or founders of the business. The remaining 40 percent of attendees are middle and senior management from the corporate sector, including representatives from law firms, insurance brokers, healthcare management, financial institutions, government organizations, and transportation companies.

About the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start, develop, and significantly grow their businesses by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, and faculty expertise. CWE provides programming targeted toward local and regional women in business designed to advance and hone their professional skills. CWE teaches the art of thinking and acting entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of existing organizational environments. CWE also offers specific programs for both undergraduate and graduate students which can help them learn the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and successful women in business.

The mission of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. Current and initial funding for CWE provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Initial funding for CWE was provided by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.


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