Oct. 14, 2022

Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette) hosted his second Women in Leadership Conference at PennWest California on Thursday, Oct. 6. Several females from different industries came together to share their stories of leadership and success with attendees.

Staci Kmetz served as the keynote speaker, sharing her inspiring story with attendees. In 2019, Staci was injured while participating in her local 4H club, resulting in a diagnosis of a Traumatic Brain Injury, Cortical Vision Impairment and Functional Neurological Disorder. She continues to work hard to overcome her injuries and has found a passion in the media industry while doing so.

Panel one consisted of two impressive Pennsylvania legislators. Rep. Regina Young (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) is a community organizer, former educator, social service worker, and certified HIV and grief counselor. She was elected to the House in 2020. Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery) is a United States Army combat veteran who retired from the military after 26 years of both active and reserve service. She was elected to the House in 2020.

Panel two featured women in the trades. Susan Bealko is the corporate safety director at GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance. She has 32 years of experience in the industry and has visited over 200 mine operations in the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Smith enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in 2007 and has earned several medals for her service to our country. Rachael Beam is the engineering manager at Pennsylvania American Water. She has over 20 years of engineering experience and manages a team of engineers to deliver large water and wastewater construction projects throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Women in other industries made up panel three. Dr. Laura Jacob, superintendent of California Area School District, shared her passions of teaching, learning and children. She has earned the school national recognition and has created innovative programs for students. Michele Beener serves as the president of Aspire Grant and Development LLC, a woman-owned small business that deals with federal, state and private grants. Brianne Mitchell is a media strategist, producer, consultant and chief operating officer for Mitchell Legal Services and Mitchell Law Office. She is also an award-winning children’s book author, philanthropist and business owner. She has won several awards and has traveled all over the world for her work.

The entire conference can be viewed here.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 Women in Leadership Conference keynote speaker and can be submitted at RepBudCook.com/Contact. The conference will take place on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.

 Pictured with Cook is Staci Kmetz.

 Pictured with Cook is Rep. Tracy Pennycuick.

 Left to right is Cook, Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly Smith, Susan Bealko and Rachael Beam.

 Left to right is Cook, Michele Beener, Brianne Mitchell and Dr. Laura Jacob.

Representative Bud Cook
49th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Michelle Swab
RepBudCook.com / Facebook.com/RepBudCook