ACG New York announced Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, who with co-founder Patricia R. Miller grew $500 into a $500 million retail and e-tail enterprise with more than 75 stores in the U.S. and Japan and products sold through over 3,000 specialty retailers, will be the featured speaker at ACG New York’s Women of Leadership Entrepreneur Series luncheon on March 27.

The event, being held at the Harmonie Club, will bring together women in the middle market, deal-making community for networking and knowledge sharing.

“ACG New York is committed to expanding the presence of women members,” notes Michelle Van Hellemont, director of business development at Accordion Partners and chair of ACG New York’s Women of Leadership Committee. “Our women membership as a percentage of total membership has grown from 3% in 2003 to 17% and now exceeds 170 women — an increase during this period of over 450%. As the presence of women in finance continues to grow, both within ACG New York and beyond, Women of Leadership will focus on issues influencing the deal marketplace and the perspectives of high impact women leaders.”

Guided by its two founders, Vera Bradley, based in Fort Wayne, IN, has earned a reputation as a leader in the women’s fashion industry. Creating stylish quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories, the company combines smart product designs with distinctive and colorful fabrics and trims. Over 30 years, Vera Bradley has built a loyal following of customers who not only look forward to the company’s new fabrics and styles introduced each season but also appreciate the function and quality synonymous with the Vera Bradley name.

Ms. Bradley Baekgaard served as Vera Bradley’s co-president from the company’s founding in 1982 through June 2010. Today she continues to provide leadership as chief creative officer and as a board director. She will be interviewed by Editor-in-Chief Mary Kathleen Flynn of Mergers & Acquisitions magazine.

Attendees are expected to include senior-level executives from middle market companies, private equity firms, investment bankers, lenders, M&A advisors, attorneys, accountants and business consultants.