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Women’s Center to offer Women Leading OHIO professional development program for second year

Application deadline is Sept. 1

The Ohio University Women’s Center will host Women Leading OHIO, a professional development program for early career faculty and staff, for the second consecutive year. 

During its inaugural year, 12 women participated in the program. Each year, participants will enjoy mentoring and job shadowing with on-campus leaders, network with professionals within and outside of the University, investigate and discuss gendered issues in higher education and learn about career paths and advancement. 

A few of the speakers anticipated to talk to the cohort this year include Gloria Burgess, the first black female computer software executive, and Sara Safari, an Iranian woman in California who climbed Mt. Everest to raise money for girls at risk from sex trafficking. This year, participants will also attend two conferences as a cohort: the ACE Women’s Network- Ohio annual conference Nov. 3 and 4 in Cincinnati and the Celebrate Women Conference at Ohio University Lancaster in the spring.

Dr. M. Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center, said “the goal of Women Leading OHIO is to foster professional and leadership development, while connecting with a cohort of others who are early in their careers and can serve as a support network as our participants transition to life as an adopted Bobcat and Athens community member.”

Dr. Murray said her staff collected qualitative data from last year’s participants and the feedback was very good. 

“The program made them stronger and made them see a path to how they can advance in their job on campus,” Dr. Murray said. “This is an ongoing professional development opportunity on campus, which can be more convenient than sending someone to a conference because there’s no travel costs.” 

Here is what some of the first-year WLO participants said about their experience:

Leanna Ater, a records management specialist at the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus, said: 

"I was able to expand my network, which I now consider my support system. WLO gave me a new motivation in my professional life and a confidence to really go after what I want. The mentorship and job shadowing experiences were priceless. I recommend this program to anyone who needs support and that extra push for the next step in their lives. If you’re on a regional campus, don’t let that stand in your way because this is more than just professional development. I can't say enough about the program and Dr. Murray puts her heart and soul into it!"

Jennifer Bennett, director of WellWorks, said: 

“Women Leading OHIO gave me a place to learn about community and campus resources and opportunities as a young professional. The weekly meetings gave me an opportunity to explore what kind of leader I am and how I wanted to utilize my skillset with my team and seek out opportunities to broaden my reach across campus and the community. Outside of the meetings, I was able to get to know a group of ladies that I can connect with for professional and personal experiences. I would recommend this course to new staff to explore who they are and find their full potential for the leader they strive to become.”

Jessica L. Cook, assistant director for civil rights compliance in University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance, said:  

"Women Leading OHIO presents an opportunity for program participants to establish professional relationships and personal friendships within a cohort of fellow leaders. I met many intelligent, brilliant women through workshops, lectures and cohort activities. It allowed me to learn about leadership styles, the internal operations of the University, challenges facing women in the workplace, and various opportunities to excel professionally. Dr. Murray had a wonderful vision when she developed this program and although it was very ambitious, it has far and beyond exceeded its initial expectations. It has enriched my personal life and professional career and I would encourage all interested employees to apply."

Kristin Mazzeo Barron, assistant director of the Child Development Center, said:

"WLO is a fabulous opportunity. You are connected to women across the University that you may not have met otherwise. Meeting every week offers a time to pause, learn and reflect while growing as an individual. In direct and indirect ways, I have benefited immensely from the program and I still process the information and experience as I continue to grow as a leader."

Elizabeth Murphy, an administrative services associate in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, said: 

“Women Leading OHIO created a safe space to discuss topics women face in the workplace and in higher education. It encouraged self-reflection on what it means to be a leader and the various ways women can lead. It was a great way to network with other women who are campus leaders. It has given me the confidence to be more vocal in the workplace by sharing more of my thoughts and ideas. I think the program is worthwhile for anyone early in their career, but even more so for women who are not familiar with the Athens community.”

Hailee Tavoian, associate director of strategy in Advancement Communication and Marketing, said: 

"Women Leading OHIO opened my eyes to the complexities of being a working woman and prepared me for some potential pitfalls I may face in my career, gendered and otherwise. The program strengthened my resolve to be unafraid to be bold and different. We did a lot of personalized strength assessments and goal setting that helped me feel empowered as a young professional. Women who are looking for personalized training and support as they take on a new role or find themselves in a life transition should absolutely apply for WLO."

WLO meetings are every Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., October through April in Alden Library. The WLO alumni group also will host monthly socials for this year's participants. Although the program takes a gendered focus on women, men are welcome to apply. 

The Women's Center will work with participants' colleges or departments in order to secure an $800 contribution in order to cover the cost of the program. 

The 2017 program will begin on Oct. 6. The deadline for applications is Sept. 1. To apply for a role in the program or to nominate someone, visit https://www.ohio.edu/womenscenter/programs/women-leading-OHIO.cfm

If you have any questions, or would like a written letter about the program to be sent to your department or college, please contact Dr. M. Geneva Murray at murraym2@ohio.edu.