EWU to host leadership program

By Kalli Wolf, Staff Writer

Eastern was chosen as one of three universities in the nation to host a one-day National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership pilot program.

NEW Leadership was started at Rutgers University in New Jersey by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).

The program was developed to empower and educate young women while encouraging them to become politically active and take leadership roles.

The program takes place on March 4 and is a non-partisan event that is completely free to students if they applied by Feb. 19.

EWU Women’s Studies Center manager Lisa Logan said the other two locations chosen for the one-day pilot program are also in Washington — Green River Community College in Auburn and the University of Washington, Bothell in Bothell.

The Women’s Funding Alliance, located in Seattle, provided a $5,000 grant to allow Eastern to host the event.

After the Women’s Funding Alliance released a report on the economic status of women in Washington state, EWU professor Jessica Willis worked to bring a representative from the organization to speak at Eastern. Logan said this is how the relationship between Eastern and Women’s Funding Alliance developed.

“That was the precursor to them choosing us as one of the universities they wanted to provide with funds for the leadership institute,” Logan said.

Women interested in participating had to turn in an application, which was reviewed by a committee. A total of 29 students were approved.

Logan said they tried to recruit students from underrepresented groups or students who might not consider themselves leaders. Faculty was asked to recommend the program to students they saw leadership potential in.

Throughout the day there will be several workshops. Including a presentation on women in American politics, as well as Washington women in politics.

“Our state has a unique history of electing a lot of women to office,” Logan said.

There will also be a discussion on women in leadership. Logan said students will be able to identify political issues they care about and start seeing different aspects of leadership, aside from just the political side of leadership.

Former Washington state senate majority leader Lisa Brown will be the keynote speaker. Afterward, a panel of political and organizational women leaders will discuss their own paths to success.

Other activities include a leadership action plan the students will make for themselves and a public speaking workshop. “It’s a women’s leadership institute, so we’ll talk some about gender and leadership expectations that might be different of women than of men who are in leadership roles,” Logan said.

Behind the scenes, Logan said there was a lot of student and presenter recruiting. “It’s non-partisan, so we have attempted to recruit people from across the political spectrum to be as speakers that day,” she said.

Logan attended a six-day NEW Leadership program in 2008 while she was a student at Eastern. The program was at WSU and she said it was a great opportunity for her to find out things she was already doing that she had not considered leadership prior to attending.

This one-day pilot program is helping advertise and recruit for the six-day program. “The main difference [between the two programs] is that while we will talk about women in political leadership for an hour and a half, there they may have sessions on it throughout the week,” Logan said.

After the leadership summit, each student will present a very short presentation about their ideas on leadership.

“The opportunity to network with so many different women who have so many different paths to leadership all throughout the day will be really powerful,” Logan said.

The next six-day program will take place at WSU in June. Applications are due on March 31 and there will be a cost associated. Students can contact the Women’s and Gender Studies department for more information.