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Development of a North Carolina conference for women began with conversations between Shannon McFayden, Mary Tribble and Gwynn T. Swinson. Initial discussion focused on the fact that women play a critical role in the fabric of our society and in maintaining an economic and social competitive advantage for North Carolina.
The result was an inaugural North Carolina Conference for Women on October 19, 2006 at the Charlotte Convention Center. The conference was sold out a month prior to the event, welcoming an overwhelming response of more than 1,500 women. The resounding success of the conference led this to be an annual event. In November 2009, a partnership was forged with the Governor’s office, thereby renaming the event to the North Carolina Governor’s Conference for Women.
Most recently, Shannon McFayden served as Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Human Resources and Corporate Relations for Wachovia Corporation, provided leadership to Human Resources, Community Relations and Corporate Communications. At Wachovia she also oversaw the company’s strategic focus on leadership, culture, diversity and employee engagement, thus creating many new outreach programs. Prior to that position, she served as the Head of Community Affairs where she managed the company’s philanthropic giving and employee involvement programs. She was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by US Banker. McFayden has also received numerous awards which include the United Negro College Fund’s “Maya Angelou Women Who Lead”, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Award of Excellence and Dress for Success Paradigm Award. McFayden has served on numerous community and civic boards, most recently serving on the Vann Center for Ethics Advisory Board at Davidson College, Queens University School of Communication Board of Advisors, Novant Medical Group Board of Trustees, Charlotte Country Day School Board of Trustees, Johnnetta B. Cole Institute for Inclusion and Diversity and the Levine Museum of the New South. McFayden holds a B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College, graduating Cum Laude.
Gwynn T. Swinson
A native of Belhaven in Beaufort County, Gwynn Swinson earned a bachelor's degree from Antioch College in 1973, a juris doctor degree from Antioch School of Law in 1976, and a master's degree in law from Duke University School of Law in 1986. In 1993, Swinson went to work in the Department of Justice, where she served as special deputy attorney general for administration, among other duties. In that role, she oversaw many of the personnel and budgeting functions of the department. Prior to that, she served first in the Health and Public Assistance Section and then as section head for the Citizens' Rights Section. Swinson also served as Secretary for Administration under Governor Michael Easley, before leaving that post in January 2006. Before joining state government, she was the associate dean for admissions at Duke University School of Law. Swinson also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for five years where she received numerous awards and served as an assistant branch director for the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division.
After 25 years of running event management company Tribble Creative Group, Mary Tribble sold the business in December of 2010 to begin a new phase in her life, which includes overseeing and directing the NC Governor’s Conference for Women. In addition to the Conference, Tribble founded Girls Rock the House, a program designed to get young girls interested in politics and co-founded The Forum for Corporate Conscience, a CEO-driven conference which challenged large corporations on issues of sustainability and corporate responsibility. Tribble has been honored as Entrepreneur of the Year, Business Woman of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Charlotte Chapter of the International Special Events Society. In August of 2007, she was inducted in the national Event Professionals Hall of Fame. She volunteers on a number of non-profit boards including the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Reynolda House Museum, the Community Building Initiative and North Carolina Dance Theatre. In addition to running the Conference, Mary’s current activities include public speaking, traveling and writing.