Brand State U Presents:

2024 Women's Summit at Sea

A personal branding and professional development getaway  hosted by women, for women.  

It’s no secret that hard work alone isn't enough for women to advance in their careers. You must have a personal brand and market it, even if it's uncomfortable.

Throw perfection overboard - it’s all about being authentic. The sooner you begin embracing your worth, the sooner you will level up your personal and professional self. Learn the practical skills you need to be authentic, courageous, strategic and successful - all while getting a great tan.

Ready to sail to success?

Join us in 2024 for the Brand U Women’s Summit @ Sea to build community, connection, and confidence with a group of like-minded women.

Develop a mindset for success while learning how to build your brand. 

Join Melissa Bowen and Jaci Russo on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas for the ultimate women’s conference cruise. Surrounded by sun, sea, and successful women, you’ll have the time, space, and support to clear your mind and focus on YOU.

Jaci Russo

Melissa Bowen

Summit Sessions

Melissa Bowen Speaking Sessions

Be You. Be Seen. Be Brave.  

We all have limiting beliefs that prevent us from showing up authentically in our lives and careers. But how can we overcome these beliefs and rise to our full potential?   In this opening session, we will explore and dismantle the thoughts that hold us back and discuss how you can show up courageously as your most authentic self - every single day.

You’ll learn: 
  • How to recognize shame and how it keeps you down
  •  5 strategies to build resilience to shame  
  • How vulnerability is essential for fulfilling connections 
  • How to practice courage 
Say "Hell Yes" to Life
by Saying “No” 

Our frustrations in life often hint at where we are lacking boundaries. Establishing healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life empowers you to love yourself, love others, and be successful.   We will explore the 5 common obstacles that keep us from maintaining our boundaries, and discuss a step-by-step method for establishing boundaries. 

We will explore: 
  • The functions and purpose of boundaries 
  • The 5 main obstacles that prevent boundary setting 
  • A step-by-step process of setting healthy boundaries 

Your Values are Your Compass 

Don’t just talk the talk - walk the walk. When your actions and decisions are aligned with your core values, you are living an authentic life.

We will explore: 
  • Identify your core values 
  • Learn behaviors that protect your values 
  • Understand how to get back on track when you get off track 

The Superpower of Emotional Intelligence

Get the best of your emotions instead of letting them get the best of you. Learning to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions will allow you to unlock the agency and potential of yourself, your life, and your career. And that of others.

You will learn
  • The functions and benefits of developing emotional intelligence 
  • A 5-step process to get you to a place of regulation 
  • Identify various skills to address emotions 
  • Connect this learning to other relationships, like leadership and parenting 

Jaci Russo Speaking Sessions

Tell it to Someone Who Needs to Hear it 

What does your audience think now, and what do you want them to think? Knowing your target audience better than they know themselves allows you to lead from the front instead of playing catch-up from behind. 

Ready to dive deeper than just demographics? We will discuss: 
  • Psychographics  
  • Personalities types 
  • Audience perceptions  

Differentiate to Dominate 

Your brand isn’t like everyone else’s, so your marketing strategy can’t be either. By leaning into your unique areas of expertise, you can build a brand that attracts consumers instead of one that chases them.

You will learn how to:  
  • Apply the laws of attraction to branding 
  • Develop thought leadership 
  • Set goals for success   

Put Your Message in a Bottle

Don’t add to the noise; cut through the clutter. In a marketplace that’s oversaturated with information, creating content that connects with your target audience is crucial.

We’ll cover topics like:
  • What does your brand sound like? 
  • One brand, one voice 
  • It’s about them, not you 

Define Your Destination 

Now that you understand the who, the why, and the what of your brand, it’s time to decide where it all goes.  Understanding social media platforms is vital for building and maintaining your brand. 

You will learn how to:
  • Choose the best platforms for your brand 
  • Increase your followers and spark engagement 
  • Measure the success of what you do 

Pre-Sailing Sessions

These sessions will be presented online before the Summit begins. These live presentations will be recorded and provided to registrants who aren’t able to attend live. 

Become a Thought Leader

Learn how to harness and share your unique expertise, industry perspective, and life experience to increase your following. Thought Leadership content is one of the key tools for building a strong brand.  

You'll learn:
  • Building a Thought Leadership strategy     
  • Establishing your credibility and authority     
  • Developing valuable content     
  • Generating engagement

Be a Brand Ambassador

This should make your company want to pay for this Summit!  As an employee, it’s not just about building your own brand but also the brand of the company where you work.  Research shows employees’ posts about the company are 3x more likely to be believed than the CEO. 

You will explore:
  • Developing an advocacy strategy 
  • Including employees into the vision 
  • Engaging employees

Networking & Connecting

Your network is your net worth but putting yourself “out there” can be very intimidating. Join us for a whole session on how to be a better networker to take advantage of the opportunities to build new professional relationships during the Summit. These same skills can be used to make authentic closer connections in your personal life as well.

We’ll discuss:
  • How to overcome “stranger danger”  
  • Strategies to turn contacts into friends 
  • Best practices to work the room with confidence 
  • How to make connections, not just contacts

Be the captain of your life.   

Your personal brand isn’t just what you think of you, it’s what others think of you. Why leave that up for interpretation? Learn to take ownership of your personal brand and tell the world who you are. Your life, your story, your brand.

Join us for the next Brand U Women’s Summit @ Sea to build  community, connection, and confidence with a group of like-minded women.  

Your Self, Your Voice, Your Strength.

Summit Guides:

Jaci Russo

Jaci Russo, P.C.M., is the co-founder and CEO of brandRUSSO. Jaci began her career at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles, California, and then with media mogul Barry Diller, developing the brands of the Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, USA Network, and Savoy Pictures. Jaci is a published author and sought-after speaker on all things branding.    

Jaci founded Brand State U – an affordable online academy for small businesses and do-it-yourself marketers. She is a Professional Certified Marketer (P.C.M.) through the American Marketing Association, and a graduate of Leadership Louisiana and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. In addition, Jaci serves as a mentor for the American Academy of Entrepreneurs and a Brand Consultant through the Edward Lowe Foundation. In 2012, Jaci was inducted into the Acadiana Business Hall of Fame. Jaci is the proud mother of four and works full-time with her husband of 25 years, Michael.

For information on workshops, speaking, and online courses, visit her website at

Melissa Bowen

Melissa Bowen is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Coach, and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator. Her work revolves around the belief that lives, relationships, and leadership can be transformed by developing a stronger sense of self and living a more authentic, vulnerable, connected, and courageous life.  

The Daring Way™ is an approach based on the shame-resilience research of Brené Brown. She has a counseling private practice in Lafayette, LA, where she also supervises counselor interns. Melissa has worked with GSK, KADN TV15, The United Way, Family Missions Company, brandRusso, and Chamber of Commerce organizations, among others. Melissa is a New Orleans native, and lives in Lafayette, LA with her husband, Kody, a few cats, and a bunch of ducks. Yes, ducks.

For information on workshops, speaking, and online courses, visit her website at

Frequently Asked Questions

Our focus is on branding and personal development. Each session will build on the last to guide you through the process of making the most of your unique attributes and how you can build a following in your life and online.

Our Summit Sessions are in the mornings and the rest of the day is YOURS to sip on a drink by the pool, enjoy activities on the ship, head to the casino, or anything else that floats your boat.  

Our daily schedule looks something like this:
Day 1 - Depart Galveston at 4pm Attend Welcome Reception
Day 2 - Day at sea - Summit Sessions 9am-1pm
Day 3 - Summit Sessions 9am-11am.  Enjoy Puerto Costa Maya 12pm-7pm
Day 4 - Enjoy Cozumel 7am-5pm
Day 5 - Day at sea - Summit Sessions 9am-1pm  
Day 6 - Arrive Galveston 8am

5 night Western Caribbean Cruise, roundtrip from Galveston, TX on the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas! We chose this particular cruise because a mix of Sea Days and port days means we will have a couple of hours of teaching per day, leaving you enough time to implement what you’re learning and still have plenty of time to take advantage of all the fun activities on board.

Of course! Cruising is more fun with a friend or business bestie! The listed rates reflect individual prices and attendees are required to book in groups of two. All aboard!

Some people will want adult time away from their kids, some don’t even have kids, and others will want to bring their children & family with them. We want you to make this experience the best it can be for you. Royal Caribbean has a great kids program, and all of our training time will be held when the kids club is open.

Lifelong learning is an important part of professional development.  You will be able to bring these best practices back to your company to improve your company’s brand.  Whether you are in a hotel in Houston or a ship in the Gulf, the important part is that you are developing great tools to be more successful.  

*Download this flyer and present it to your company to show the professional development value that comes with this trip.

Sure thing! There will be lots of opportunities for networking and hanging out with all of your new friends. All of the prices listed are per person with two people per room. For solo travelers, the cost to cruise will be double for the cabin, but you will only purchase one summit session.

Women's Summit at Sea has been approved for 11 hours of continuing education credits by the Louisiana LPC Board! This means that licensed professional counselors can knock out 11 of their required continuing education credits by attending the summit. We are still seeking CEC Accreditation for the following industries: Human Resources, Certified Public Accountant, & Realtor. 

Reach out via email if you have any questions or concerns or schedule a call to chat directly.