Two Life West students saw months of legwork come to fruition Saturday in Oakland. Ashley Gonzales and Nikki Kielkowicz’s event, Making HERstory, drew more than 160 attendees to the California Ballroom for an all-day seminar spotlighting women in chiropractic and focusing on how best to empower females within the profession. Speakers included Life West faculty and alumni, and the co-organizers were quick to express gratitude to all in attendance, including each other.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” Gonzales said, citing a quote from an earlier presentation by Devin Vrana, DC. “Behind the scenes, Nikki kept me grounded.”
“It’s important to find someone who pushes you in every way possible,” Kielkowicz added. “Ashley had a vision for this every step of the way.”
Gonzales and Kiekowicz began planning the independent conference after another women’s chiropractic event was canceled late last year. One of their most important goals was to provide a top-notch speaker lineup, and the schedule for the conference included presenters from a wide variety of backgrounds within the chiropractic industry.
The agenda included Jamie Motley, DC, DACBR, the lone female African-American DACBR and the head of Life West’s new MSDI program. Dr. Motley’s address focused on her chiropractic journey and what she has learned along the way.
“If you see an obstacle, you overcome it,” she urged the audience. “You just walk the path, get over the obstacle and get ready for the next one.”
Dr. Motley also pressed her audience to avoid complacency and to seek new challenges.
“I’ve been the first to do a lot of things,” she said. “It feels good, but the reality is that I ask, ‘What’s the next thing I’m going to do?’ I don’t spend too much time patting myself on the back for the things I’ve done so far.”
Other speakers included Life West alumnae Jeannie Kakizaki, DC, Regina Thompson, DC, and Kaitlyn Shikada, DC.
Many in the audience were members of the Life West community who not only stopped by to listen and learn, but also to support Gonzales and Kielkowicz.
“One of the biggest things has been seeing how generous people are,” Kielkowicz said. “There’s a tremendous amount of people that we couldn’t have done this without, and every single one of you buying a ticket means the world to us.”
“You all made the conference,” Gonzales said from the event stage. “We just made the space.”