Nearly 90 female business leaders from across Alaska gathered for the 8th annual Kenai River Women’s Classic, a three-day networking and fundraising educational event that helps raise awareness for the Kenai River and its fisheries resources according to Ricky Gease, Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. (KRSA) executive director. The event was hosted by KRSA. The annual emcee for the event KTUU’s meteorologist Jackie Purcell returns every year because she says the event provides a unique opportunity for women executives, “A big part is the attention of the event on conservation of the resource so that future generations can have the same fun experience we had today and another part is that these are high level business executives who can learn a lot from each other and draw strength and encouragement from one another that makes us better professionals. It’s a great time to share fun, good food and good fishing with women,” said Purcell. Once again the ladies out fished their male counterparts at the regular Kenai River Classic held earlier.
Erika Rottenberg, former vice president, general counsel and secretary of LinkedIn
Corporation, the world’s largest professional networking company on the internet, was the keynote speaker at the event’s banquet. The Women’s Classic is a unique women’s-only event that has tripled in attendance since it began in 2008 according to Gease. “Female executives from a wide range of businesses rave about the event, which sold out within a month of accepting registrations.” Cindy Bailey of BP said, “It’s so fun and after all these years it feels like a family reunion.”
Melissa LeBlanc of CH2MHill hauled in the biggest fish of the weekend at 14.8 pounds and also the third place fish at 12.1 pounds. When accepting her award she presented her third place trophy bowl to Kelly Droop whom she said was responsible for being her mentor and bringing her back for another classic. Taking second place with a 12.8-pound silver was Robyn Engibous, deputy director for Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, the second year in a row she placed second. Pebble Partnership’s Marit Carlson Van Dort won the smallest fish award landing a 2.3-pound silver.