Published: Feb. 27, 2019

A day of professional development and networking was had by more than 200 attendees at the 17th Women Succeeding Symposium at CU Boulder’s University Memorial Center on Feb. 22. The popular event is held by the Faculty Council Women’ Committee and rotates locations between the CU system campuses. This year’s symposium theme was: women engaged and on the move.

Anne Libby

Anne Libby

"This is an annual symposium that started in 2003 to honor women faculty and provide for professional development experiences. It is sponsored and run by the Faculty Council Women's Committee, which includes faculty from all CU campuses. Over the years the symposium has evolved to embrace all women working at CU,” said Melinda Piket-May, associate professor in electrical, computer and energy engineering at CU Boulder and co-chair of the symposium and committee.

“Our symposium is about networking and women's professional development for the enhancement of individuals, which we believe enhances all things at CU.

“We always have a wait list for the symposium, which I believe speaks to its value among the CU community,” Piket-May said.

Comprising the symposium were breakout sessions, lightning-round mini-talks, a keynote panel discussion facilitated by Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez and more. There were also information booths, including one promoting Mamava lactation pods, designed to easily integrate into public spaces, such as college campuses, for nursing mothers. Among many lactation rooms across the CU campuses, including several at CU Boulder, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has a Mamava pod.

“The Mamava Pod on the Anschutz campus has improved access to lactation space for faculty, staff, students and guests,” said Sarah Anderson, associate professor in clinical pharmacy at the CU Anschutz campus and co-chair of the Faculty Council Women’s Committee.

Example topics at the symposium included developing diverse women’s voices in higher education; self-actualization practices for busy women; student evaluations; limitations of FCQs and alternatives for characterizing teaching; professional development opportunities at CU; and supporting working mothers.

With an introduction by Polly Bugros McLean, associate professor of media studies at CU Boulder, Anne Libby took the stage midday to receive the Elizabeth D. Gee Lectureship Award and give this year’s talk.

Libby is a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, department of emergency medicine, specializing in economics and public health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. She talked about her path getting into economics and some of the realizations she had along the way, like how women and men communicate differently, and how there are pay gaps between women and men, which increase the higher the level of education. She gave book recommendations and discussed some of her community involvement. She also discussed her sense of obligation to not settle for status quo and to follow her professional strengths, as well as path to happiness.

In closing, Libby said, “It’s a co-ed world, so we all have to work together. I want you to search for meaning and find your flow. Successful behaviors can be taught and learned. No one succeeds alone, so find trusted others and nurture relationships.”