Hey, women in business: This conference will help you replace stress with strength

Katrina Elkins of Tacoma is one of the speakers Dec. 2 at the Ampify Your Heart conference in Seattle.
Katrina Elkins of Tacoma is one of the speakers Dec. 2 at the Ampify Your Heart conference in Seattle. Courtesy

It seems obvious now — amid the culture shift fueled by the #MeToo movement — to have a conference focused on women’s empowerment.

In fact, the idea came to Katrina Elkins in August.

Elkins is the founder of Awakened Heart in Tacoma, a healing center emphasizing self-care and community.

She says that now, more than ever, we’re overdue for a cultural shift for women to gain confidence and more control of their lives.

“Over the past year I’ve worked with a lot of women, and there’s a lot of trauma we don’t talk about or address,” she said in a recent interview with The News Tribune. “... It’s an abuse that prevents you from living your life.”

As a result, she was seeing that almost all her female clients struggled with being true to themselves in their personal and professional lives and “becoming authentic.”

“A lot of women don’t feel safe expressing their unique voice and who they really are,” she said, “so there’s that split saying one thing, and then being a different person somewhere else.”

Elkins will join with other speakers for the Amplify Your Light conference Saturday (Dec. 2) at the Talaris Conference Center in Seattle.

The speakers’ goal is to share insights and breakthroughs that have allowed them to “run their businesses from the cornerstones of self-expression, self-care and self-love and community.”

According to the seminar’s promotional material, the speakers “with extensive experience in empowerment, will discuss how women can feel safe in leading with their hearts and minds in their businesses and lives.”

Topics will include learning ways to release control and trust intuition along with other insights to help in business and life.

“Amplify Your Light was created out of a desire to tap into the need for authenticity,” Elkins said. “When you’re in a business or actually own a business, it’s really important ... that your voice is the same no matter where you speak and how you present yourself.

“That is where your strength comes from.”

Elkins believes helping others get in touch with themselves strengthens what they are trying to do for themselves.

“Women are struggling to speak their truth and connect with their deeper gifts,” she said. “They are saying that they are tired of having to hide parts of themselves in order to please or pacify others.”

She wasn’t surprised that the #MeToo movement gained national attention after the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and then picked up momentum in all sectors of society, not just showbiz.

She’s calling for a mental shift toward empathy, compassion and equality.

“We’ve been focused on going this one way (in society) and we’ve neglected this whole other way of living, so men who want to support women — maybe they don’t feel safe in doing that because of this trained way of thinking,” she said.

“There is the striving, driving, masculine-oriented way of doing things,” she said. “We’re taught as children this is the way you do it.”

This brings to mind the “tech-bro” culture and the reports of sexism and lack of gender equality at technology companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Because the tech industry “is such fast-growing segment,” perhaps it’s one of the brighter spotlights on our culture as a whole, Elkins said.

“Some of the real pain points are going to show up more obvious when it comes to what our society is struggling with as a whole,” she said.

After moving here from Ballard about a decade ago, she sees Tacoma on the front line of the change.

“We are fostering self-expression and community in Tacoma,” she said.

“There’s a need for women to feel there’s a community that addresses their concerns about authenticity, about trauma, about owning their own business and standing in their own power even if they don’t own their own business,” she said.

As for the conference in Seattle, Elkins says the time is right.

“I challenge women to say yes, take this moment,” she said. “When people say yes now it transforms family, life, community and business.”

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

Amplify Your Light

Open to women of all ages.

When: 1-5:30 p.m. (with VIP dinner and fireside ceremony after the event) Dec. 2

Where: Talaris Conference Center, 4000 NE 41st St., Seattle

Speakers: Katrina Elkins, founder of Awakened Heart; Jessica Riverson founder, School of Feminine Expansion and Permission To Charge; Ali Ghambari, owner, Cherry Street Coffee House and founder, Iranian/American Community Alliance; and Stacy Fisher-Gunn, founder of Living Upp.

Admission: Conference is $97; conference plus dinner: $197.

Register online: (dinner RSVP by Wednesday morning, Nov. 29)

More information: Email Katrina Elkins at