MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce brought the Ignite Women’s Conference back to the city for the second year on Tuesday.

The all-day event was presented by Tidelands Health and emceed by News13’s Annette Peagler.

The conference was held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. It was put on to empower and support women in the community as well as local women’s businesses.

Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at 14, was a keynote speaker.

“If I can survive that, I can survive anything,” she said.

Karen Riordan, the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the event was created to highlight the women leadership in Myrtle Beach.

“There really was nothing that allowed for a peer-to-peer, woman-to-woman kind of event where we could come together and connect,” she said.

Riordan, the chamber’s first female CEO, said the event is special to her. She said it’s important to have a day to celebrate, educate and inspire.

“It’s something that I’m proud of and I’m proud of my team for doing and it shows with the kind of response that we’ve gotten, that women were looking for something like this,” she said.

Another guest speaker, Precious Williams, said she could feel the energy in the room.

“I can feel that the women want to know if they’re struggling, and nobody believes in them, can they make it? I’m here to show them, yes you can,” she said.

Williams said she wanted the women to leave ignited today and light their flame upon the world. She said her second chance is what got her there today.

“I went through such grief and depression that I literally become homeless, a severe alcoholic,” she said. “When they said it was over for me, I tried to take my life on my 30th birthday.”

Another speaker said his passion of spreading love started after losing his mom in mass shooting.

“I have something called a struggle moment that keeps me going,” Chris Singleton said. “It’s five numbers that I think about when it comes to my mom. So when I get tired, when it’s a long day, I’m sure we’ve all had them, I think about my mom and those five numbers and it pushes me forward.”

Singleton said he spreads love through writing children’s books to encourage unity.

* * *

Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.