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A Santa Maria-based women's collective is inviting women from across the Central Coast to participate in a daylong conference designed to "embrace women by sharing stories, building trust and redefining expectations."

Touchstone, a collective co-founded by community members Diane Adam and Emily Smith, will host its inaugural "Leading With Love" conference on March 9 at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria. Admission is $100 per attendee and includes participation in all activities and sessions, coffee breaks, lunch and an after-party featuring food and wine by women winemakers.

"I am so excited to spend the day with 300 women who are eager to learn and grow together," Smith said. "It is my greatest wish that all who participate in the conference would be encouraged to lead with love."

Billed as a "transformative, daylong conference," conference organizers say attendees can expect to feel "enlightened, empowered and energized" after hearing from motivational speakers, engaging in thought-provoking conversation, witnessing moments of inspiration and enjoying cuisine, art and music.

The event is designed for women of all ages and stages. Though organizations are encouraged to use the conference as a professional development opportunity, organizers say it is not intended to be corporate or political.

"Leading with Love" conference tickets, information and sponsorship opportunities can be found online at The organization can be reached 805-619-9010 or by email at

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Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga