The Northwest Ohio Women’s Leadership Institute, to be held May 11, will examine issues surrounding women as leaders, whether in the workplace, community, academia or the political arena.
Through sessions on women in business and the academy, and on negotiating for leadership and leadership vs. power, the conference will explore issues and perceptions surrounding women’s leadership; choices and tradeoffs they face juggling personal and professional objectives, and strategies for overcoming obstacles to women defining and claiming leadership on their own terms.
Caryn McTighe Musil
The conference, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in 201 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, is free and open to the public. To register, call 2-7540 by Friday (May 5).
The 9:15 a.m. keynote address will be given by Caryn McTighe Musil, senior vice president for diversity, equity and global initiatives and director of the program on the status and education of women at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Debra McCurdy, newly appointed president of Rhodes State College in Lima, will give a second address, at 2:30 p.m. She holds three degrees from BGSU.
Other presenters will include representatives from the Northwest Ohio Small Business Development Center and BGSU’s Office of Human Resources and Career Center.
Ohio Treasurer Jennette Bradley will welcome attendees at the luncheon, and comedian Mary Sobecki, who is also the associate program officer for the Needmor Fund, will provide entertainment.
The theme of the conference echoes that of BGSU’s Women’s History Month presentations in March. Women are frequently in leadership roles, and yet because their leadership styles may differ from men’s, many of the strengths they bring to their roles may be masked by traditional concepts of leadership.
The session topics are the outgrowth of a series of community conversations initiated by the Women’s Center in October 2005 between BGSU faculty and staff and community business representatives concerning opportunities and challenges for women’s leadership. “Classified and administrative staff, faculty and the community really contributed to the conversations,” said Women’s Center Director Dr. Mary Krueger. “I was happy with the openness of the conversations and the way everyone embraced the opportunity.”
In those discussions, "we found that many of the issues impacting advancement were similar, including work/life balance and limited opportunity for recognition and reward,” said Dr. Kristine Blair, interim chair of the English department and one of the institute’s organizers. “Our hope is that the institute will enable participants to establish campus and community benchmarks for professional advancement, including increased numbers of women as internal and external applicants for leadership positions, and more opportunities for recognizing the leadership capacity of women whether or not they hold positions of power.”
In addition to Blair and Krueger, the planning committee includes Drs. Radhika Gajjala, interpersonal communication, and Jane Rosser, Partnerships for Community Action/Office of Service Learning.
Support for the institute comes from the offices of the president and executive vice president. “We are grateful to both the president and executive vice president for recognizing the importance of this issue," Blair said. The organizers hope the institute will become an annual event.