Transforming Our FuturePlease see below information from last year's conference. Agenda for 2020 conference to be announced. 

Friday, February 15 • 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
University Memorial Center at CU Boulder

The 2019 Women’s Leadership Symposium is a day-long conference created for women/woman-identified staff and students. Get ready to explore a variety of ways to develop authentic and empowered leadership skills! Events include a keynote presentation; breakout sessions presented by CU students, staff and faculty; networking; lunch; and a community-based closing activity to keep your leadership momentum going throughout the semester.

Registration is closed. We will be in contact with those on the waitlist to let you know if there is space. Thank you for your interest in attending the Women’s Leadership Symposium!

The Women’s Leadership Symposium will highlight the existing CU Boulder leadership resources and will provide a place for students, staff and faculty to connect and collaborate.

The Women’s Leadership Symposium seeks to explore the variety of ways authentic leadership is present in our communities, empower confidence in leadership styles and practices, and engage the resiliency in tomorrow’s leaders with CU Boulder students, staff and faculty.

Conference Schedule

8:30-9:15 a.m.            Opening – coffee and tea provided
9:30-10:45 a.m.          Breakout Sessions
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.   Breakout Sessions
12:15-2 p.m.               Lunch with Keynote Presentation
2-3:15 p.m.                 World Café
3:30-4 p.m.                 Reflection/Personal Development

Opening Speaker

Dr. Sarabeth Berk, Director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, University of Colorado CU Boulder

Photo of Dr. Sarabeth BerkDr. Sarabeth Berk is the director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative at CU Boulder, a cross-campus effort to connect and bring more entrepreneurial thinking into university experiences for all stakeholders. Sarabeth obtained her PhD in curriculum studies and instruction from the University of Denver, and has focused on innovation in nonprofits, K-12 and higher education throughout her career. She considers herself a hybrid professional and identifies as an artist/researcher/teacher/designer. She has degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design. When she isn’t transforming education, Sarabeth is a council member on the Denver County Cultural Council, and she plays in the outdoors as much as possible.

Keynote Presentation

Jennifer Simpson, PhD, President, Integrated Work
The Personal is Still Political: Transformation begins in the mirror

A look back at 50 years of women’s rights advocacy and forward to the opportunities and challenges we face today as we tackle the ongoing work of transforming the future in this generation.

Jennifer Simpson headshotJennifer has dedicated her life and career to improving lives, strengthening communities and adding value to organizations. Her specialty is in translating organizational vision into practice and helping leaders build on and strengthen their own capacity in times of transition.

Jennifer’s doctoral research explored the relationship between diversity and building strong and effective teams and she has put her insights into practice to help leaders make a greater difference all over the world ever since. During her time at CU Boulder, she was an officer for the United Government of Graduate Students; served on the Building Community Campaign, Multicultural Development Team, Women’s Network and TGGQ Task Force; was an advisor to the Puksta Engaged Scholars program; and helped found the CU Dialogue Network.

Her varied background includes more than 25 years of experience working in and with organizations across the private, public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors to create more meaningful and effective ways of living and working together; more than a decade of teaching university courses in communication and leadership disciplines; and a lifetime of bridging worlds in a way that capitalizes on the best in organizations to enhance creativity and stimulate whole system learning.

Jennifer has climbed mountains, ridden a bicycle across the Continental divide, danced like no one was watching (even when they were), visited dozens of countries on five continents, laughed (and cried) with friends, cheered her children’s successes, and picked them up and dusted them off after defeats, navigated the ups and downs of a 20+ year partnership and lots of other very human things!

Breakout Sessions

9:30-10:45 a.m.

Am I an Imposter?! Supporting women’s leadership from undergraduate into the career
Brie Jutte Waterman, Program Coordinator, New Student & Family Programs
Alicia Sepulveda, Academic Coach, College of Arts & Sciences

Aspen Rooms
This presentation will examine the development of women from young girls into career women and discuss the constraints society places on them. We will discuss various organizations that strive to encourage young girls, the phenomenon, Imposter Syndrome, the Lean In Movement and more! Participants will participate in an activity around sexism they currently experience in school and work, and we will have a case study to brainstorm how to help support and encourage women.

I Like When You Wear Your Hair Out: Navigating appearance and self-advocacy as a woman of color at a PWI 
Elana Benitez, Hall Director, Hallett Hall
UMC 245
With more than 9,000 employees (faculty and staff) recorded in 2017 at CU Boulder, only about 10% of those employees identify as women of color or non-white. This session is designed to better understand how women of color navigate through their professional experience at a predominantly white institution. We will discuss professionalism, appearance, sexism, self-advocacy and mentorship in addition to battling biases and compassion fatigue.

Language Innovation on Fleek
Elizabeth Neil, Teaching Assistant, Spanish & Portuguese Department
Kelsey Trevino, Teaching Assistant, Spanish & Portuguese Department
Edith Aldaba-Valdez, Teaching Assistant, Spanish & Portuguese Department

UMC 247
We are MA American and Latina students in the Spanish and Portuguese department. Through our research we have realized the importance of language and leadership and we are thrilled to share this information. This discussion will focus on the relationship between language and women and the impacts that we cause in society due to this relationship. We will present evidence that demonstrates women as language innovators and lead discussions surrounding this phenomenon. These discussions will include problems with women and language use and potential solutions. 

Outdoor Inclusion
Karina Hillman, Student Assistant, Environmental Center
UMC 415-417
This session will dissect the binary oppositions existing in outdoor sports, specifically, the varying obstacles surrounding the safety and inclusion of non-binary, trans and people of color in the outdoors. This will be a presentation on the emerging voices within the outdoor community that seek to address inclusion, as well as representation of minority groups within this community. This presentation will offer an intersectional analysis on emerging rhetoric surrounding climbing, backpacking and mountain biking.

An Eight-step Checklist to Success as a Woman
Elle Boese, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
UMC 425
When asking students what the goal is of getting a degree, most list knowledge and experience. Some students in their latter years recognize communication, teamwork and time management. But there are many other skills required for success. This checklist can help guide you to figure out how to be successful in school and your future pursuits. This checklist covers how to apply these skills specifically as a woman. For example, effective communication is not just what you say, but also tonality and body language – in ways that differ from men. Another example is when it comes to failure. Failure happens. How we react is everything. Come learn eight keys to success as a woman.

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Why You Shouldn’t Say “Should:” How self-talk affects self-care
Abbey Strusz, Program Coordinator, New Student & Family Programs
Aspen Rooms
The language we use matters! Using guidance from Brené Brown and Rachel Hollis, this session will dive into how word choice – even in the way you talk to yourself – could be affecting your mental health, your confidence and the way you operate in school or work. Attendees will practice identifying the language they use that might be contributing to self-doubt and practice rephrasing thoughts into healthier terms.

Not to Throw Shade, But ... Colorism, Women and Society
Christina Chambers, Coordinator for Cultural Programs, Center for Student Involvement
Katy Armstrong, Senior Coordinator, Center for Student Involvement

UMC 245
What can pop culture teach us about colorism and sexism? Join this facilitated discussion on the impact of colorism and sexism on women's experiences. Through examining real-world examples of colorism and sexism, participants will consider how these intersecting identities impact their everyday experiences.

Women in Leadership: Building a Network of Support
Jennifer McDuffie, Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Student Affairs
Akirah Bradley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Sandy Jones, Dean of Students

UMC 247
Being a woman in a leadership role can be challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is understanding how to navigate one's career in higher education while also maintaining responsibilities outside of work. In this interactive panel discussion, women in leadership will identify and explain strategies they have used to overcome barriers in the workplace such as navigation of office politics, being promoted from a peer to a leader, stress/anxiety around decision making, and uncertainty about career path. The panelists will also address ways in which they have managed their commitments to ensure those who matter the most – our family and friend – are given the time and attention they deserve. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, panelists will discuss the importance of self-care, and how that directly relates to success in the many roles women often hold both inside and outside of work. 

Making Our Voices Heard: How four women tackled gender barriers in IT
Laura Johnson-Morris, Data Warehouse Architect, Housing-Technology Services
Patrice Thoresen, VDI Support Desk Manager, Housing-Technology Services
Karen Cade, Project Manager, Housing-Technology Services
Hillary Campbell, Web Systems Manager, Housing-Technology Services

UMC 415-417
We all have heard that women face unique challenges in male-dominated fields, but we often don’t hear the stories of how women can and do overcome those challenges. Join us to hear specific strategies and skillsets that four women have used to advance in their careers, despite gendered barriers that they have encountered along the way. This session aims to leave attendees with tools that they can use to forge their own path in any career.

Finding Voice and Fostering Feminism through Sisterhood
Stephanie Baldwin, Assistant Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life
Emma Kate Harbin, Former Panhellenic President
Jackie Kingdom, Former Panhellenic President

UMC 425
One of the biggest challenges college women face can be to find and articulate voice in silenced spaces. It is equally challenging to find a place where feminism can be fostered and not hidden. This session will explore how the sorority experience can support both the development of voice and the feminist movement. Panelists will share how their unique experiences and their leadership positions within the sorority community at CU Boulder has taught them to how speak up and when to stand out.

World Café

2-3:15 p.m.
Join us at the World Café for collaborative dialogue to discover new opportunities for action. Through dynamic networks of conversation, we will build on our community’s collective intelligence around our most important questions, strengthen personal relationships and shape the future together.

Thank you to the Division of Students Affairs and ODECE for their support of the Women’s Leadership Symposium. Thank you as well to the committee and their departments for supporting the leadership learning, development and engagement of CU Boulder women/woman-identified staff and students: Career Services, Center for Inclusion and Social Change, Center for Student Involvement, New Student and Family Programs, University of Colorado Student Government and University Memorial Center.