LONG BEACH, CA--(Marketwire - July 31, 2008) - The Women's Leadership Exchange (WLE), a social entrepreneurship founded by and for successful businesswomen, announced today the WLE West Coast Summit will be held on Tuesday, August 12, at the Long Beach Convention Center. This year's event features a dynamic program to help business owners and executives of small to mid-size companies rise above the effects of today's tough economy and turn crisis into opportunity. Expert speakers will cover topics such as building sales momentum, green growth strategies, tactics to triumph in tough times, breaking through barriers, boundaries and biases, and more.

Four successful businesswomen will be honored with Compass Awards: Sung-Joo Kim, who has been named one of the "Top 50 Women to Watch" by the Wall Street Journal, and owns a $120 million company; Tracey Doi, group vice president and CFO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and named by Automotive News as one of the top 100 women in the auto industry; Frieda Rapoport Caplan, founder & chairman of the board or Frieda's, Inc., the first woman-owned and operated wholesale produce company in the United States; and Dr. Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, who oversees the daily operations and internal management of the nation's number one container port. The roster of distinguished keynote speakers and honorees is headed by an extraordinary woman, Dr. Sarah Weddington, who successfully argued the landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade.

Leslie Grossman and Andrea March, cofounders of the WLE, said, "After six successful years of running WLE conferences across the country, we are producing a West Coast Summit to fulfill demands from regional businesswomen. This year's Summit addresses the specific needs of Southern California business owners."

Innovative features at the WLE Summit include SpeedCoaching, six different seminars, and a special general session in the afternoon focused on helping women break through barriers, boundaries and biases. Ten SpeedCoaches will spend five minutes with each attendee for a private coaching session. Attendees will gain invaluable advice and insight as they move from table to table and meet with experts from various fields including marketing, sales, management and leadership. The six seminars, led by top business experts, are designed to help attendees tackle the tough climate caused by Southern California's current economic challenges. The final general session of the day will feature an interactive discussion about diversity with an emphasis on recent research findings that demonstrate how embracing diversity as a universal business practice can generate an array of opportunities.

The full-day program also offers attendees the opportunity to connect with successful CEOs and top executives, to network with local entrepreneurs, and to renew their sense of purpose in business and provide new ideas to propel their success.

OPEN from American Express' President, Susan Sobbott, WLE's founding partner, says, "Over the past six years, OPEN has worked closely with WLE and we have seen women make significant strides in every arena of business. WLE's Summits and Conferences have definitely been a contributing factor because they bring women together in the most impactful way. All of us at OPEN are proud of our role with WLE and we are delighted to help bring this Summit to Southern California's entrepreneurial and executive women." In addition to OPEN from American Express, corporate partners include Union Bank of California, WLE's exclusive Southern California banking partner, IKEA, Morgan Stanley, American Airlines, Best Buy, Bermuda Department of Tourism, and fashion brands, Donna Morgan and Ali Roe.

The cost to attend the conference, which includes facilitated networking, breakfast, luncheon, a cocktail reception, and raffle, is $199 until August 6, then $249 after that. Register at www.womensleadershipexchange.com or call 888.937.5800.

Contact Information: Media Contacts: For Women's Leadership Exchange David Bernstein 212-209-1570 Holly Ferris 562-429-6456