NC Women's Summit Hits Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM -- Women from all walks of life got a chance to connect with others in Winston-Salem on Thursday. The third annual NC Women's Summit was hosted by the group "Women Advance" at Wake Forest University.

"And I just felt like I was supported finally by a group of women who understood my struggle," said NaShonda Cooke, a Women Advance Durham lead.

Cooke's struggle has been being a single mom with two kids on a teacher's salary. She's been a part of Women Advance for two years, an organization all about connecting women to current issues.

"We're trying to activate women across North Carolina by connecting the dots on policy and legislation and show them how they can get involved. They can join an organization that's trying to effect policy on a particular issue that's affecting their life," said Kim Saccoccio, Women Advance executive director.

This year was the third annual Women's Summit and was held at Wake Forest University.

"Really wanted to help connect women to feminist scholars and so through this partnership we came up with the idea of creating a summit where we would bring together scholars, activists and then women on the ground to meet each other and to learn from one another," said Saccoccio.

It is exactly what Cooke did when she spoke at last year's summit.

"When I was done, I received so many hugs and so many words of gratitude and inspiration and encouragement that it motivated me to continue," said Cooke.

Cooke is an Advance Team leader in the Durham area where she can meet more women and help them find their voice.

"I'm able to go and speak to legislators. It's not just 'I'm only here for educators,' I'm here for women in general and all of our needs and the women who can't speak for themselves including my daughters and others who can't be there. I feel like I have a lot more to say and to back up what I speak about," said Cooke.

The summit is held at a different location every year. Organizers say they want the 2016 summit held in Asheville but a decision won't be made until January.