A series of panels was created at Bellevue University to showcase women across the metro area.

Founded by Gina Ponce, the director of Latino Community Outreach at BU, the quarterly events highlight women in different fields.

Friday was the Women in Business panel, which featured four business owners in the metro area: Diva Mejias of M&M Financial, Sophia Jordan-Black of Black Bottom Biscotti, Esther Mejia of E Creative and Ismara Gonzalez of Isla Del Mar Restaurant.

Ponce started this series to showcase women in different aspects on the workforce.

“I’m a real advocate of women,” Ponce said.

“We wanted to pick certain topics and then have series and then bring experts in those particular topics so that we could do a panel.”

Also speaking at the event was Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon and Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler.

With the speakers at the Women of Business panel coming from different types of businesses, Ponce said she wanted to bring in diversity from all around the area.

“I have a lot of connections, so I just have to ask people who they think I should invite,” she said.

Ponce said the panels are helpful because it gives people the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the women and their experiences.

“I know there’s a lot of women opening their own businesses now in a lot of different areas,” she said. “I thought, ‘Let’s have a session where women can tell them their struggles, their successes, how did they get started, how they’re doing, what did they do when they failed, what’s the next step for them?’ “

The next series will feature women in government on Dec. 5. Ponce also hopes to host a panel with women of health and women of education. After the first year is up, the panels will start over with the government series.

Ponce said she’s happy to have the series at BU.

“I think we can do really great things for the community by offering these sessions,” she said.

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