The annual conference will take place on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at the Moody Gardens Convention Center.

GALVESTON, TX – September 17, 2021 – The annual Galveston women’s conference, produced by the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, is built around a different theme each year. The 14th annual event, “A New Direction”, will focus on raising awareness of mental health, finding balance and personal healing.

“A new direction drew its inspiration from the mental health crisis impacting every community and suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for Texans,” said Gina M. Spagnola, president and chief executive officer of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce. “As a community, it’s important that we talk about depression, learn the warning signs, and have the courage to tell our stories.”

On October 28th, actress and mental health advocate Mariel Hemingway will headline and share her evocative story about growing up in a home where there were great challenges including seven suicides in her family.

Each year, the Chamber recognizes two 501(c)3 non-profit organizations doing extraordinary work in our region that fits within the theme. The Chamber will honor and recognize STOP and Heels to Halos.

STOP focuses on suicide prevention, anti-bullying, cyber-bullying awareness and intervention to reduce suicidal behaviors through public education, local community advocacy, training, school assemblies, and peer support. Heels to Halos reaches women in the streets and sexually oriented businesses across Galveston, Houston and surrounding areas. They provide the proper resources, connections, and housing to build a bridge for women to exit the sex industry, life of human trafficking, addiction, prison, and trauma.

“We still don’t know how increased depression, domestic violence, isolation or substance use will impact suicide rates in the region, but it’s important to take a minute to talk about it, support each other in these pandemic times, and know the warning signs of suicide to help prevent it,” said Brenda George, founder and executive director of STOP. “At the STOP (Stop- Talk-Overcome-Pain) assemblies, we tell every student that they are never alone, they are loved and 24/7 – 365 days a year, they can text TALK to 741741 (National Suicide Hotline), a live person will respond immediately and intervene as needed. STOP has reached over 30,000 students in 3 years.”

“We have all found ourselves in a season where there seems to be no way out and no hope. Heels to Halos is about bringing truth, identity, and worth to women in the sex industry,” said Marlo Dowdy of Heels to Halos. “We have the privilege to go into the dressing rooms of clubs and brothels to bring unconditional love. Heels to Halos has expanded beyond the Houston area and now includes outreach teams in Canada and Alaska. Plus, a local club is hosting monthly in-club training for employees by Heels to Halos on the signs of human trafficking, unhealthy relationships, and other life skills including financial stewardship and how to stay free from addiction. What a joy it is to journey with women to live a life of hope and purpose.”

The Galveston Women’s Conference will be held on October 28, 2021, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Moody Gardens Convention Center on Galveston Island.

For more information, visit, call Jill Chapman at (409) 763-5326 or email